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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Emissions of acidifying substances (version 2) / Emissions of acidifying substances (version 2) (CSI 001) - Assessment published Dec 2008

Emissions of acidifying substances (version 2) (CSI 001) - Assessment published Dec 2008

Generic metadata

Topics:

Air pollution Air pollution (Primary topic)

Agriculture Agriculture

Industry Industry

Tags:
acidification | air emissions
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 001
Geographic coverage:
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary 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 acidifying pollutants across Europe?

Key messages

  • Aggregated emissions of acidifying pollutants (nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3) have decreased significantly in most of the EEA member countries between 1990 and 2006. This decrease has been achieved despite the increased rates of economic activity that have occurred during this period.
  • Across the EEA-32 region, emissions of acidifying pollutants decreased from 1 549 kt to 790 kt between 1990 and 2006 - a 49% reduction.
  • The EU-27 as a whole is on track to meet its target to reduce emissions from acidifying pollutants based on an aggregation of its NEC Directive ceilings for the three individual pollutants. However, a number of individual Member States anticipate missing their emission ceilings for one or more of the individual acidifying pollutants.

Change in emissions of acidifying pollutants compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets

Note: Gothenburg protocol targets are shown for the non-EU countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Norway)

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Distance-to-target for EEA member countries

Note: The 'distance to target' results are shown in light yellow (countries need to do more to be on track to meet their ceiling in 2010) and green (countries are on track to meet their ceiling in 2010)

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

In the EEA-32 region, total emissions of acidifying pollutants have decreased by 49% between 1990 and 2006 (Figure 1). Emissions of these pollutants are weighted using a factor that reflects their specific acidification formation potential prior to aggregation - see the CSI 001 indicator specification for further details. Within most countries, emissions of the aggregated acidifying pollutants have also decreased significantly (Figure 2). The largest reductions have occurred in the Czech Republic (-80%), Slovakia (75%) and Latvia (74%). In contrast, the total emissions of acidifying pollutants have increased in three countries between 1990 and 2006 - Cyprus (4%), Greece (6%) and Turkey (27%). 

The reduction across the EEA-32 has occurred mainly as a result of decreased SO2 emissions - since 1990 these have decreased by 67% (Figure 5). This reduction of SO2 has contributed 75% of the total emission reduction observed for all acidifying pollutants (Figure 6). Reflecting this, in 1990 SO2 was responsible for 55% of total acidifying emissions, whereas by 2006 the contribution made by SO2 had decreased to 35% (i.e. similar to the contribution made to acidifying emissions by NOx and slightly greater than that made by NH3). Emissions for the other two acidifying pollutants have also decreased since 1990, although not to the same extent as for SO2 - NOx emissions have decreased by 31% and NH3 by 22%.  Key reasons behind the observed reductions in emissions are provided in the 'Specific assessment' section below.

The National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) sets for each of the EU-27 Member States ceilings (i.e. limits) for NH3, NOx and SOx emissions that must be met by 2010 [1]. The reported data shows that as of 2006, 23 Member States are on track toward meeting their combined target for the acidifying pollutants, as was the EU-27 as a whole (Figure 3). However on an individual pollutant basis, other EEA analysis [2] indicates that many Member States anticipate that, without implementing additional measures to reduce emissions, they will miss one or more of their respective 2010 NECD ceilings. The 2010 emission ceiling for NOx is the most difficult of the four ceilings for many Member States to meet. Thirteen Member States have reported that they anticipate missing their NOx ceiling (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). For NH3 two Member States (Germany and Spain) anticipate missing their ceiling, and one Member State (the Netherlands) - its SO2 ceiling.

Several of the non-EU countries also have 2010 emissions ceilings defined under the Gothenburg protocol of the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. Of these countries, Norway alone has reported emissions that lie above a linear target path to its aggregated ceiling for 2010 - in contrast both Liechtenstein and Switzerland appear on track to meet their respective aggregated Gothenburg ceilings [3].

Further details concerning emissions of the individual acidifying pollutants may be found in the following indicator fact sheets:

[1] The NECD and Gothenburg protocol also set an emission ceiling for non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) which contribute to ground-level ozone formation.
[2] NEC Directive Status report (EEA Technical report No 9/2008).
[3] Lichtenstein has signed, but not yet ratified, the Gothenburg protocol.

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

Contribution to total change in acidifying pollutants emissions for each sector and pollutant

Note: 'Contribution to change' plots show the contribution to the total emission change between 1990-2006 made by a specified sector/pollutant

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Emissions by sector of acidifying pollutants

Note: Due to numerical rounding, values may not add exactly to 100%

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Change in acidifying pollutants emissions for each sector and pollutant between 1990 and 2006

Note: No data available for Iceland.

Data source:

EEA aggregated and gap-filled air emission dataset, based on 2008 officially reported national total and sectoral emissions to UNECE/EMEP Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Atmospheric Pollution.

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

In 2006 the most significant emission sources of acidifying emissions in the EEA-32 region were the 'energy industries' (31% of total emissions), 'agriculture' (29% of total emissions) and 'road transport' sectors (14% of total emissions) (Figure 4). Since 1990, acidifying emissions from the 'energy industries' and 'industry (energy)' sectors have in particular reduced significantly, contributing 45% and 16% respectively of the total reduction of acidifying emissions (Figure 6). Factors that have contributed to the reduction in these sectors include:

  • Fuel switching from high-sulphur solid (e.g. coal) and liquid (e.g. heavy fuel oil) fuels to low sulphur fuels (such as natural gas) for power and heat production purposes within the 'energy industries', industry and domestic sectors;
  • The impact of European Community directives relating to the sulphur content of certain liquid fuels;
  • The introduction of flue-gas abatement techniques (e.g. flue gas desulphurisation, NOx scrubbers and selective (SCR) and non-selective (SNCR) catalytic reduction) and introduction of combustion modification technologies (such as use of low NOx burners).

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

Comments

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone: +45 3336 7100