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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Ammonia (NH3) emissions

Ammonia (NH3) emissions

Contents
 

Justification for indicator selection

The agriculture sector is responsible for over 90% of NH3 emissions across the EEA-32. NH3 contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication which in turn can lead to potential changes occurring in soil and water quality. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. Eutrophication can lead to severe reductions in water quality with subsequent impacts including decreased biodiversity, changes in species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects. In many cases, the deposition of acidifying and eutrophying substances still exceeds the critical loads of the ecosystems (see EEA indicator CSI 005 'Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone'). Further details concerning emissions of acidifying pollutants are provided in EEA's Core Set Indicator CSI 001 'Emissions of acidifying substances'.

As a secondary particulate precursor, NH3 also contributes to the formation of particulate aerosols in the atmosphere. Particulate matter is an important air pollutant due to its adverse impact on human health, and NH3 is therefore also indirectly linked to effects on human health (see EEA's Core Set Indicator CSI 003 'Emissions of primary particles and secondary particulate precursors' for further details concerning emissions of particulate matter.

Scientific references:

  • No rationale references available

Indicator definition

  • The indicator tracks trends since 1990 in anthropogenic emissions of sulphur dioxide.
  • The indicator also provides information on emissions by sectors: Energy production and distribution; Energy use in industry;, Industrial processes; Road transport; Non-road transport; Commercial, institutional and households; Solvent and product use; Agriculture; Waste; Other.
  • Geographical coverage: EEA-32. The EEA-32 country grouping includes countries of the EU-27 (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) EFTA-4 (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Norway) and Turkey.
  • Temporal coverage: 1990-2010

Units

ktonnes (1000 tonnes)

Policy context and targets

Context description

A number of policies have been implemented within Europe that either directly or indirectly act to reduce emissions of NH3. These include:

  • The National Emission Ceilings Directive 2001/81/EC (NECD) which entered into force in the European Community in 2001. The NECD sets emission ceilings for four important air pollutants (NH3, sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)) to be achieved from 2010 onwards for each Member State. The ceilings are designed to improve the protection in the Community of the environment and human health against risks of adverse effects arising from acidification, eutrophication and ground level ozone. The NECD is presently under review, the European Commission may adopt a proposal for a revised Directive during 2010.
  • The Gothenburg Protocol (1999) to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's (UNECE) Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention) to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone. A key objective of the protocol is to regulate emissions on a regional basis within Europe and to protect eco-systems from transboundary pollution by setting emission reduction ceilings to be reached by 2010 for the same four pollutants as addressed in the NECD (i.e. NH3, SOX, NOX, and NMVOCs). Overall for the EU Member States, the ceilings set within the Gothenburg protocol are generally either slightly less strict or the same as the emission ceilings specified in the NECD.
  • The Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (96/61/EC) entered into force in 1999.  It aims to prevent or minimise pollution to air, water or land from various industrial sources throughout the European Union. Those installations covered by Annex I of the IPPC Directive are required to obtain authorisation from the authorities to operate. New installations and existing installations, which are subject to 'substantial changes' have been required to meet the requirements of the IPPC Directive since 30th October 1999. Other existing installations must have been brought into compliance by the 30th October 2007. The emission limit values outlined in the permit conditions must be based on best available techniques (BAT). The Commission has been undertaking a review of the IPPC Directive and related legislation on industrial emissions and on the 21st December 2007 adopted a proposal for a Directive on industrial emissions. The proposal recasts seven existing Directives relating to industrial emissions (including IPPC and the Large Combustion Plant Directive (2001/80/EC) into a single legislative instrument.

Apart from the NECD and Gothenburg Protocol and the IPPC Directive, there is currently no other EU legislation proposed or in force specifically aimed at reducing ammonia emissions. However, several regulatory instruments have influenced EU emissions of ammonia from the agriculture sector since 1990, such as:

  • the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP);
  • the Nitrate Directive (91/676/EEC);
  • the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC).

These measures have had the indirect effect of changing agricultural practices across the EU, and have, for instance, led to a reduced use of nitrogenous fertilisers and to an overall decrease in cattle numbers, both of which affect the levels of ammonia emissions. The reforms of CAP, and specifically the removal of the link between farm production and payments, has also resulted in reduced livestock numbers across the EU-15 and hence also will have indirectly contributed to the decrease in ammonia emissions observed.

Targets

Emissions of NH3 are covered by the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) (2001/81/EC) and the Gothenburg protocol under the United Nations Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention) (UNECE 1999). The NECD generally involves slightly stricter emission reduction targets than the Gothenburg Protocol for EU-15 countries for the period 1990-2010. The Gothenburg Protocol entered into force on 17 May 2005, after ratification by 16 countries early in 2005.The 2012 revision to the Gothenburg protocol proposed emission reduction targets for 2020 relative to 2005 reported emissions for all EU-27 member states, and some EEA-32 non-EU member states.

Table: 2010 NH3 ceilings under the NEC Directive and the Gothenburg Protocol (kt)

Country

2010 NECD
ceilings

2010 CLRTAP Gothenburg Protocol ceilings

2020 CLRTAP Gothenburg Protocol ceilings

Austria 66 66 62
Belgium 74 74 70
Bulgaria 108 108 56
Cyprus 9 N/A 5
Czech Republic 80 101 64
Denmark 69 69 63
Estonia 29 N/A 10
Finland 31 31 31
France 780 780 634
Germany 550 550 545
Greece 73 73 63
Hungary 90 90 72
Iceland* N/A N/A N/A
Ireland 116 116 108
Italy 419 419 395
Latvia 44 44 15
Liechtenstein N/A 0.15 N/A
Lithuania 84 84 35
Luxembourg 7 7 5
Malta 3 N/A 2
Netherlands 128 128 122
Norway N/A 23 21
Poland 468 468 267
Portugal 90 108 47
Romania 210 210 173
Slovakia 39 39 24
Slovenia 20 20 17
Spain 353 353 357
Switzerland N/A 63 59
Sweden 57 57 47
Turkey* N/A N/A N/A
United Kingdom 297 297 283

* Iceland and Turkey do not have a ceiling under either the NEC Directive or the Gothenburg protocol.

Related policy documents

Key policy question

What progress is being made in reducing emissions of NH3?

Specific policy question

How do different sectors and processes contribute to emissions of NH3?

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

 

This indicator is based on officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to EEA and UNECE/EMEP (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe/Co-operative programme for monitoring and evaluation of the long-range transmission of air pollutants in Europe) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention), submission 2011. For the EU-27 Member States, the data used is consistent with the emissions data reported by the EU in its annual submission to the LRTAP Convention.

Recommended methodologies for emission inventory estimation are compiled in the EMEP/EEA Air Pollutant Emission Inventory Guidebook, (EMEP/EEA, 2009). Base data are available from the EEA Data Service (http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/dataservice/metadetails.asp?id=1096) and the EMEP web site (http://www.ceip.at/). Where necessary, gaps in reported data are filled by ETC/ACC using simple interpolation techniques (see below). The final gap-filled data used in this indicator are available from the EEA Data Service (http://dataservice.eea.europa.eu/PivotApp/pivot.aspx?pivotid=478)

Base data, reported in the UNECE/EMEP Nomenclature for Reporting (NFR) sector format are aggregated into the following EEA sector codes to obtain a consistent reporting format across all countries and pollutants:

 

  • Energy production and distribution: emissions from public heat and electricity generation, oil refining, production of solid fuels, extraction and distribution of solid fossil fuels and geothermal energy;
  • Energy use in industry: emissions from combustion processes used in the manufacturing industry including boilers, gas turbines and stationary engines;
  • Industrial processes: emissions derived from non-combustion related processes such as the production of minerals, chemicals and metal production;
  • Road transport: light and heavy duty vehicles, passenger cars and motorcycles;
  • Non-road transport: railways, domestic shipping, certain aircraft movements, and non-road mobile machinery used in agriculture & forestry;
  • Commercial, institutional and households: emissions principally occurring from fuel combustion in the services and household sectors;
  • Solvent and product use: non-combustion related emissions mainly in the services and households sectors including activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents;
  • Agriculture: manure management, fertiliser application, field-burning of agricultural wastes
  • Waste: incineration, waste-water management;
  • Other: emissions included in national total for entire territory not allocated to any other sector

 

The following table shows the conversion of Nomenclature for Reporting (NFR) sector codes used for reporting by countries into EEA sector codes:

EEA classification

Non-GHGs (NFR)

 

National totals

National total

 

Energy production and distribution

1A1, 1A3e, 1B

 

Energy use in industry

1A2

 

Road Transport

1A3b

 

Non-road transport (non-road mobile machinery)

1A3 (excl. 1A3b)

 

Industrial processes

2

 

Solvent and product use

3

 

Agriculture

4

 

Waste

6

 

Commercial, institutional and households

1A4ai, 1A4aii, 1A4bi, 1A4bii, 1A4ci, 1A4cii, 1A5a, 1A5b

 

Other

7

 

Methodology for gap filling

An improved gap-filling methodology was implemented in 2010 that enables a complete time series trend for the main air pollutants (eg NOX, SOX, NMVOC, NH3 and CO) to be compiled. In cases where countries did not report emissions for any year, it meant that gap-filling could not be applied. For these pollutants, therefore, the aggregated data are not yet complete and are likely to underestimate true emissions. Further methodological details of the gap-filling procedure are provided in section 1.4.2 'Data gaps and gap-filling' of the European Union emission inventory report 1990–2009 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP).

Methodology references

Data specifications

EEA data references

Data sources in latest figures

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

The use of gap-filling for when countries have not reported emissions for one of more years can potentially lead to artificial trends, but it is considered unavoidable if a comprehensive and comparable set of emissions data for European countries is required for policy analysis purposes.

Data sets uncertainty

NH3 emission estimates in Europe are more uncertain than those for NOX, SO2 and NMVOCs due largely to the diverse nature of major agricultural sources. It is estimated that they are around ±30% (EMEP, 2009). The trend is likely to be more accurate than the individual absolute annual values - the annual values are not independent of each other.

Overall scoring: (1-3, 1=no major problems, 3=major reservations)

  • Relevancy: 1
  • Accuracy: 2
  • Comparability over time: 2
  • Comparability over space: 2

 

Rationale uncertainty

This indicator is regularly updated by EEA and is used in state of the environment assessments. The uncertainties related to methodology and data sets are therefore of importance. Any uncertainties involved in the calculation and in the data sets need to be accurately communicated in the assessment, to prevent erroneous messages influencing policy actions or processes.

Further work

Short term work

Work specified here requires to be completed within 1 year from now.

Long term work

Work specified here will require more than 1 year (from now) to be completed.

General metadata

Responsibility and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Martin Adams

Ownership

European Environment Agency (EEA)

Identification

Indicator code
APE 003
Specification
Version id: 2
Primary theme: Air pollution Air pollution

Permalinks

Permalink to this version
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Permalink to latest version
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Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in October-December (Q4)

Classification

DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)

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Geographical coverage

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