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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Ammonia (NH3) emissions / Ammonia (NH3) emissions (APE 003) - Assessment published Oct 2010

Ammonia (NH3) emissions (APE 003) - Assessment published Oct 2010

Generic metadata

Topics:

Air pollution Air pollution (Primary topic)

Agriculture Agriculture

Environment and health Environment and health

Tags:
air quality | air pollution indicators | air emissions | nh3 | ammonia | pollution
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • APE 003
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2010
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Turkey United Kingdom
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: What progress is being made in reducing emissions of NH3?

Key messages

  • EEA-32 emissions of NH3 have declined by 24% between the years 1990 and 2008. Agriculture was responsible for 94% of NH3 emissions in 2008.
  • The reduction in emissions within the agricultural sector is primarily due to a reduction in livestock numbers (especially cattle) since 1990, changes in the handling and management of organic manures and from the decreased use of nitrogenous fertilisers. The reductions achieved in the agricultural sector have been marginally offset by the increased emissions which have occurred during this period in sectors such as transport and to a lesser extent the energy industry and other (non-energy) sectors.
  • In general, Member States have made excellent progress in reducing emissions below the level of their respective emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). Twenty-two of the EU-27 Member States have already achieved their 2010 ceilings in 2008. Only Finland still needs to make significant further reductions in order to meet their respective ceilings under the NECD. In the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), emissions of ammonia in 2008 were higher than the ceiling in two countries (Liechtenstein and Switzerland), whilst emissions in Norway were below the ceiling limit by 1%.
  • Environmental context: NH3 contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication. 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. NH3 also contributes to the formation of secondary particulate aerosols, an important air pollutant due to its adverse impacts on human health. 

Change in emissions of ammonia compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets (EEA member countries)

Note: The reported change in ammonia (NH3) emissions for each country, 1990-2008 in comparison with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Ammonia (NH3) distance-to-target for EEA member countries

Note: The distance-to-target indicator shows how current emissions compare to a linear emission reduction 'target-path' between 1990 emission levels and the 2010 emission ceiling for each country. Negative percentage values indicate the current emissions in a country are below the linear target path; positive values show that current emission lie above a linear target path to 2010.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Key assessment

EEA-32 ammonia emissions have decreased by 24% between 1990 and 2008.

In general, the EU Member States have made excellent progress in reducing emissions below the level of their respective emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD), with 22 of the EU-27 Member States having already achieved their ceilings. These Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

However, a small number of Member States still require relatively significant reductions in NH3 emissions to be made if they are to meet their 2010 ceilings under the NECD. These Member States are Finland, Denmark and Germany.

Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are not members of the European Union and hence have no emission ceilings set under the NECD. Norway and Switzerland have ratified the UNECE LRTAP Convention’s Gothenburg Protocol, requiring them to reduce their emissions to the agreed ceiling specified in the protocol by 2010. Liechtenstein has also signed, but not ratified the protocol. Norway already reports emissions below the level of their ceiling under the Gothenburg Protocol; however emissions in Switzerland have risen since 2007 and now exceed their ceiling level. Emissions of NH3 in Lichtenstein are also slightly above the level of their 2010 ceiling.

The NECD and Gothenburg protocol are currently being reviewed. The revision of the NECD is part of the implementation of the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution, but a proposal for a revised directive is presently on hold until 2013. A proposal to amend the Gothenburg protocol  is presently under preparation and is expected to propose emission ceilings to be met by 2020 for the four already regulated substances (NOX, NMVOCs, SO2 and NH3) and in addition for primary emissions of PM2.5.

Specific policy question: How do different sectors and processes contribute to emissions of NH3?

Emissions by sector of ammonia - 2008 (EEA member countries)

Note: The contribution made by different sectors to emissions of ammonia.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Change in ammonia emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2008 (EEA member countries)

Note: Percentage change in ammonia (NH3) emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2008.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Contribution to total change in ammonia emissions for each sector (EEA member countries)

Note: The contribution made by each sector to the total change in ammonia (NH3) emissions between 1990 and 2008.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

The agricultural sector remains the major source of NH3 emissions (94% of total 2008 emissions).

These emissions derive mainly from the decomposition of urea in animal wastes and uric acid in poultry wastes. Emissions depend on the animal species, age, weight, diet, housing systems, waste management and storage techniques. The majority of the reduction in emissions is due to the combination of reduced livestock numbers across Europe (especially cattle), and the lower use of nitrogenous fertilisers. NH3 emissions have also declined in countries outside the European Union between 1990 and 2008. Again this is primarily due to reductions which have occurred in the agricultural sector as a result of decreasing animal numbers.

Emissions from road transport, although relatively small have risen from 1990 levels as a result of the increasing use of three-way catalytic converters in the vehicle fleet (this is due to an unwanted reaction involving hydrogen which reduces NO to NH3). However emissions have fallen since 2000, and are projected to fall in the future, as the second generation of catalysts (which emit lower levels of NH3 than the first generation catalysts) penetrate the vehicle fleet.

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Martin Adams

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in October-December (Q4)
Document Actions
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100