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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 2012

Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions (APE 004) - Assessment published Dec 2012

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, 2020
Geographic coverage:
EEA Member Countries (EEA32) 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 53% since 1990. In 2010, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were 'Solvent and product use' (42%), comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents, followed by 'Commercial, institutional and households' (18%).
    • 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 as a result of the introduction of legislative measures limiting the use and emissions of solvents.
    • The majority of EU-27 Member States have reduced emissions since 1990 in line with their obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD), however two Member States have not met their ceilings (Germany and Spain)[1]. Emissions in 2010 for the three non-EU countries which have emission ceilings for 2010 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. Biogenic NMVOC are emitted by vegetation, with amounts dependent on the species and on temperature. NMVOCs contribute to the formation of ground-level (tropospheric) ozone, and certain species such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene are directly hazardous to human health. Quantifying the emissions of total NMVOC provides an indicator of the emissions of the most hazardous NMVOCs.

[1] Emissions data reported by EU member states under NECD is used for comparison with NECD ceilings, and data reported under CLRTAP is used for all other calculations unless otherwise stated.

Change in emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds compared with the 2010 NECD and 2020 Gothenburg protocol targets (EEA member countries)

Note: The reported change in NMVOC emissions for each country, 1990-2010, in comparison with the 2010 NECD and 2020 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 NMVOC emissions compare to a linear emission reduction 'target-path' between 2010 emission levels and the 2020 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 2020.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Key assessment

EEA-32 emissions of NMVOCs have decreased by 53% since 1990. Within the EEA-32 group of countries, all have reported lower emissions in 2010 compared to 1990 except Hungary (90% higher in 2010), Turkey (49%) and Romania (19%).

The large increase in Hungary is due chiefly to significant changes in the reported emissions from road transport, which are zero in 1990 and represent around half of the total emissions in later years.

The EU-27 Member States have, in general, achieved reductions in emissions in line with their obligations under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD), however two Member States reported national NMVOC emissions under NECD in 2010 above the level of their emission ceilings set in the NECD. NMVOC emissions in Germany and Spain for the year 2010 were just 2% and 1% respectively over their ceilings, and all are considered broadly on track towards meeting their continuing obligations under the NECD by 2011. As can be seen in Fig 2, although Denmark reported emissions under CLRTAP which were above the level of their ceiling, emissions reported under NECD were within their 2010 ceiling for NMVOC.

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 2010 that were lower than their respective 2010 Gothenburg Protocol ceilings, and as such have met their Gothenburg Protocol obligations in 2010.

The NECD protocol is currently being reviewed, as 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 revision of the Gothenburg protocol was published in June 2012, and proposed percentage emission reductions from 2005 levels to be met by 2020 for the four already regulated substances (NOX, NMVOC, SO2 and NH3) and in addition for primary emissions of PM2.5. Existing emission ceilings for 2010 have been extended to 2020 such that all countries have additional obligations to maintain emission levels below their 2010 ceilings, or to further reduce emissions if they have not yet met these ceilings.

Emissions reported for 2010 indicate that the majority of Member States are on track towards meeting their obligations for 2020 emissions under the revised Gothenburg protocol. Six countries reported 2010 emissions higher than the linear path to their 2020 targets, however for two of these the difference was less than 2% of 2005 emissions. Emissions in 2010 in three countries were more than 10% of their 2005 totals above the linear path to 2020 emission reduction targets, and these countries may therefore require significant further measures to be taken before 2020 if they are to achieve the reductions specified in the revised Gothenburg protocol.

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

Sector share of non-methane volatile organic compounds emissions - 2010 (EEA member countries)

Note: The contribution made by different sectors to emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) in 2010.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Change in non-methane volatile organic compounds emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2010 (EEA member countries)

Note: Percentage change in non-methane volatile organic compound (NMVOC) emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2010.

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 2010.

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

In 2010, the most significant sources of NMVOC emissions were 'Solvent and product use' (42% of EEA-32 NMVOC emissions), comprising activities such as paint application, dry-cleaning and other use of solvents, 'Commercial, institutional and households' (18%), 'Road transport' (16%) and 'Energy production and distribution' (10%) sectors.

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 measures such as 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, broadly as a result of the lower volatility of diesel fuel. The road transport sector has contributed 53% of the total reduction in NMVOC emissions reported by countries in the EEA-32 since 1990.

Significant reductions have also been achieved in the 'Solvent and product use' sector reflecting, amongst other measures, the introduction and implementation of the Solvent Emissions and Paints Directives. For example, Switzerland and Denmark reported a decline in emissions of 35% and 56% from this sector, largely as a result of compliance with the Solvents Directive, which contributed significantly to reducing their national emissions from 1990 to 2010.

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

2012 1.1.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

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