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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions

Contents
 

Justification for indicator selection

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) are a collection of organic compounds that differ widely in their chemical composition but display similar behaviour in the atmosphere. NMVOCs are emitted into the atmosphere from a large number of sources including combustion activities, solvent use and production processes. NMVOCs contribute to the formation of ground level (tropospheric) ozone. In addition, certain NMVOC species or species groups such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene are hazardous to human health. Quantifying the emissions of total NMVOCs provides an indicator of the emission trends of the most hazardous NMVOCs.

Tropospheric ozone is an important air pollutant due to its adverse impact on human health. Further details concerning the contribution of NOx to emissions of tropospheric ozone precursors and particulate matter are contained in EEA's Core Set Indicators CSI 002 'Emissions of ozone precursors'.

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 NMVOCs. 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 (SO2, nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3) 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 4 pollutants as addressed in the NECD (i.e. SO2, NOx, NH3 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.
  • 1991 Geneva Protocol to the LRTAP Convention on the control of emissions of volatile organic compounds. This protocol entered into force in September 1997 and it required a 30% reduction in VOCs by 1999 from a base year between 1984 and 1990.
  • VOC Solvents Directive (1999/13/EC). This is the main policy instrument for reducing industrial emissions of VOCs within the European Union. It covers a wide range of solvent activities including printing, surface cleaning, vehicle coating, dry cleaning and the manufacture of footwear and pharmaceutical products. Installations either have to comply with the emission limit values set out in the Directive or with the requirements of a reduction scheme. Existing installations had to comply by the 31st October 2007, with new installations having to comply from the date of commencement of activities.  This Directive has now been amended through Article 13 of the Paints Directive (2004/42/EC).
  • Directive 94/63/EC aims to prevent VOC emissions into the atmosphere during the storage of petrol at terminals and its distribution from terminals to service stations. This is known as Stage 1 petrol vapour recovery. The Commission's proposal for Stage 2 petrol vapour recovery covering emissions associated with the refuelling of petrol cars at service stations expected to be available by the end of 2008. 
  • 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 into a single legislative instrument. 
  • The aim of the Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management (the 'Air Quality Framework Directive') is to maintain and improve air quality within the European Community by establishing objectives for ambient air, drawing up common methods and criteria for assessing air quality and obtaining and disseminating information. The second "Daughter" Directive 2000/69/EC sets limit values for benzene concentrations (a NMVOC) to be achieved throughout the community.
  • Since the early 1990s standards on NMVOC emissions from new cars sold in Europe have been in place. This first came about with EU Directive 91/441/EC, which effectively mandated the fitting of three-way catalysts to all new petrol cars to significantly reduce emissions of CO, hydrocarbons (NMVOCs) and NOx. Standards for this Directive, frequently referred to as Euro 1, were followed by Euro 2 standards implemented by Directive 94/12/EC during the mid 1990s. Yet more stringent EU Directives have been put in place to reduce hydrocarbon emissions further, the most recent being (98/69/EC) setting emission limits for petrol cars sold after 2000 and then after 2005 (Euro 3 and 4 standards respectively).
  • Hydrocarbon emissions from diesel vehicles have also been regulated since the early 1990s (since 1988 for heavy duty vehicles) with a succession of more stringent EU Directives. The legislation currently in force for heavy duty vehicles is 2005/55/EC and 2005/78/EC (implementing provisions) which define the emission standard currently in force, Euro IV, as well as the next stage (Euro V) which entered into force in October 2008. 
  • Directive 97/68/EC and subsequent amending acts on the emissions of pollutants from internal combustion engines installed in non-road mobile machinery sets emission standards for hydrocarbons and type approval procedures for engines fitted to non-road mobile machinery.

Targets

Emissions of NMVOC are covered by the EU National Emissions 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 NMVOC 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 159 159 128
Belgium 139 144 113
Bulgaria 175 185 68
Cyprus 14 N/A 8
Czech Republic 220 220 149
Denmark 85 85 72
Estonia 49 N/A 37
Finland 130 130 89
France 1050 1100 702
Germany 995 995 995
Greece 261 261 101
Hungary 137 137 119
Iceland* N/A N/A N/A
Ireland 55 55 42
Italy 1159 1159 856
Latvia 136 136 53
Liechtenstein N/A 0.86 N/A
Lithuania 92 92 60
Luxembourg 9 9 8
Malta 12 N/A 3
Netherlands 185 191 163
Norway N/A 195 131
Poland 800 800 445
Portugal 180 202 172
Romania 523 523 319
Slovakia 140 140 60
Slovenia 40 40 29
Spain 662 669 655
Switzerland N/A 144 72
Sweden 241 241 148
Turkey* N/A N/A N/A
United Kingdom 1200 1200 740

* 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 NMVOCs?

Specific policy question

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

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

NMVOC emission estimates in Europe are thought to have an uncertainty of about ±30% due in part to the difficulty in obtaining good emission estimates for some sectors and partly due to the absence of good activity data for some sources. 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 004
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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Data used

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Geographical coverage

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