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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 (APE 004) - Assessment published Dec 2011

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions (APE 004) - Assessment published Dec 2011

Generic metadata

Topics:

Air pollution Air pollution (Primary topic)

Environment and health Environment and health

Industry Industry

Tags:
air pollution indicators | csi | air quality | air emissions | pollution
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • APE 004
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2010
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark EU32 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 NMVOCs?

Key messages

  • EEA-32 emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) have decreased by 51% since 1990. In 2009, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were ‘Solvent and product use’ (36%) (comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents), followed by ‘Commercial, institutional and households’ (15%).
  • The decline in emissions since 1990 has primarily been due to reductions achieved in the road transport sector due to the introduction of vehicle catalytic converters and carbon canisters on petrol cars, for evaporative emission control driven by tighter vehicle emission standards, combined with limits on the maximum volatility of petrol that can be sold in EU Member States, as specified in fuel quality directives. The reductions in NMVOC emissions have been enhanced by the switching from petrol to diesel cars in some EU countries, and changes in the ‘Solvents and product use' sector (a result of the introduction of legislative measures limiting for example the use and emissions of solvents).
  • The EU-27 Member States have, in general, made good progress towards reducing emissions in line with their obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). Twenty four Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have already reduced their national NMVOC emissions below the level of the emission ceilings set in the NECD. However, two Member States (Denmark and Germany) reported 2009 emissions significantly above their respective emission ceilings and therefore require significant reductions to have been made in 2010 in order to comply with the NECD. Emissions in 2009 for the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were all well below their respective ceilings.
  • Environmental context: 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, and certain NMVOC species such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene are hazardous to human health. Quantifying the emissions of total NMVOCs provides an indicator of the emissions of the most hazardous NMVOCs.

Change in emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets (EEA member countries)

Note: The reported change in NMVOC emissions for each country, 1990-2009, in comparison with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

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 emissions of NMVOCs have decreased by 51% since 1990. Within the EEA-32 group of countries, all have reported lower emissions in 2009 compared to 1990 except Romania (29%), Hungary (104%) and Turkey (116%).

The EU-27 Member States have, in general, made good progress towards reducing emissions in line with their obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). Twenty-four Member States (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have already reduced their national NMVOC emissions below the level of the emission ceilings set in the NECD. Spain reported NMVOC emissions for the year 2009 that were just 5% over their ceiling under the NECD, and so it is not clear whether their emission ceiling in 2010 will be met.

Two Member States (Denmark and Germany) reported emissions significantly above their respective emission ceilings and will therefore require significant reductions in 2010 emissions in order to comply with the NECD.

Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are not members of the European Union and hence have no emission ceilings set under the NECD. However, 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. All three countries have reported emissions in 2009 that were lower than their respective 2010 Gothenburg Protocol ceilings. As emissions of NMVOC in all countries have fallen consistently since 1990, it is considered highly likely that they will meet their Gothenburg Protocol obligations in 2010.

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, and a proposal for a revised directive is expected by 2013. A proposal for a revised Gothenburg protocol is presently under international negotiation. The revised protocol is expected to include emission ceilings to be met by 2020 for the four already regulated substances (NOX, NMVOCs, SOX and NH3) and in addition for primary emissions of PM2.5

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

Sector share of non-methane volatile organic compounds emissions - 2009 (EEA member countries)

Note: The contribution made by different sectors to emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs).

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Change in non-methane volatile organic compounds emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2009 (EEA member countries)

Note: Percentage change in non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2009.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Contribution to total change in non-methane volatile organic compounds emissions for each sector (EEA member countries)

Note: The contribution made by each sector to the total change in non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions between 1990 and 2009.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

In 2009, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were Solvent and product use (36%) (comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents), and ‘Commercial, institutional and households’, ‘Industrial processes’ and ‘Road transport’ sectors (each 15%).

The decline in emissions since 1990 has primarily been due to the significant reduction achieved in the road transport sector, which has been due to the increased penetration rate of three-way catalytic converters (in which NMVOCs are oxidized to CO2 and H2O), and cars fitted with carbon canisters for evaporative emission control in the European vehicle fleet, reflecting introduction of e.g. the Euro vehicle emission standards and EU Fuel Quality Directives. This has been enhanced by the switching from petrol to diesel cars in the fleet in some EU countries. NMVOC emissions from diesel and petrol cars differ due to the different engine characteristics and properties of the fuels. The road transport sector has contributed 57% of the total reduction in NMVOC emissions reported by countries.

Significant reductions have also been achieved in the Solvents and product use' sector reflecting, amongst other measures, the introduction and implementation of the Solvent Emissions and Paints Directives. For example, the Netherlands and Denmark reported a decline in emissions of 59% and 50% from this sector largely as a result of compliance with the Solvents Directive.

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

2011 1.1.2 (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