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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Emissions of acidifying substances / Emissions of acidifying substances (CSI 001/APE 007) - Assessment published Jan 2014

Emissions of acidifying substances (CSI 001/APE 007) - Assessment published Jan 2014

Generic metadata

Topics:

Air pollution Air pollution (Primary topic)

Agriculture Agriculture

Industry Industry

Tags:
10 messages for 2010 | soer2010 | air quality | csi | nh3 | air pollution control | so2 | nox | air emissions | nitrogen | sox | air pollution indicators | acidification | ammonia | pollution
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B - Does it matter?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 001
  • APE 007
Dynamic
Temporal coverage:
1990-2011, 2020
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: What progress is being made in reducing emissions of acidifying pollutants across Europe?

Key messages

  • Emissions of the acidifying pollutants, nitrogen oxides (NOX), sulphur oxides (SOX) and ammonia (NH3), have decreased significantly in most of the individual EEA member countries between 1990 and 2011. Emissions of SOX have decreased by 74%, NOX by 44% and NH3 by 25% since 1990 within the EEA-33.
  • Data reported under the NECD indicates that in 2011 the EU-28 as a whole met its continuing obligation to maintain emissions of NOX, SOX and NH3 below 2010 target as specified by the EU’s National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD). However, the EU-15 as a whole and seven individual Member States, all of which are in the EU-15 group, reported emissions in 2011 above their NECD emission ceilings for NOX. Four EU member states reported 2011 NH3 emissions above the levels of their NECD ceilings, three of which are in the group of fifteen pre-2004 EU member states.
  • Three additional countries which are current EEA Member States have emission ceilings for 2010 under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Both Liechtenstein and Norway reported NOX and NH3 emissions in 2011 that were higher than their respective 2010 ceilings.

Change in emissions of sulphur oxides compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets

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Change in emissions of nitrogen oxides compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets

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Change in ammonia emissions compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets

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Key assessment

In the EEA-33 region and within most (i.e. 25 of 33) countries, emissions of the three acidifying pollutants SOX, NOX and NH3 have decreased significantly between 1990 and 2011 (Figure 1). Further details of these reductions are provided in the separate indicator factsheets for SOX, NOX and NH3, together with assessments of the progress being made by countries towards meeting their respective 2020 emission ceiling limits.

The reduction in total acidifying emissions across the EEA-33 has occurred mainly as a result of decreased SOX emissions - since 1990 these have decreased by 74% (Figure 1). Emissions for the other two acidifying pollutants have also decreased since 1990, although not to the same extent. Key reasons behind the observed reductions in emissions are provided in the 'Specific assessment' section below.

The reduction in total acidifying emissions across the EEA-33 has occurred mainly as a result of decreased SOX emissions - since 1990 these have decreased by 74% (Figure 1). Emissions for the other two acidifying pollutants have also decreased since 1990, although not to the same extent. Key reasons behind the observed reductions in emissions are provided in the 'Specific assessment' section below.

Further details concerning emissions of the individual acidifying pollutants in individual EEA-33 member countries, may be found in the following indicator fact sheets:

The revision of the National Emission Ceilings Directive 2001/81/EC (NECD) is part of the implementation of the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution. The proposal to amend the NECD is still under preparation and should set emission ceilings to be respected by 2020 for the four already regulated substances (NOX, NMVOC, SOX and NH3), as well as for the primary emissions of PM2.5. 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 and 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.

Data reported under the NECD indicates that in 2010 the EU-28 as a whole met its overall target to reduce emissions of NOX, SOX and NH3 as specified by the EU’s National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD). However, ten individual Member States, and the EU-15 as a whole, reported emissions of NOX for 2010 above their NECD emission ceilings. Five EU member states also reported 2010 NH3 emissions above the levels of their NECD ceilings, four of which are in the group of fifteen pre-2004 EU member states.

Between 2010 and 2011, four further Member States have achieved their 2010 targets for reductions in NOX emissions, and one more has achieved their target for NH3 emissions.

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

Sector split of emissions of acidifying pollutants

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Change in sulphur oxides emissions for each sector

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Change in nitrogen oxides emissions for each sector

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Change in ammonia emissions for each sector

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Contribution to total change in sulphur oxides emissions for each sector

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Contribution to total change in nitrogen oxides emissions for each sector

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Contribution to total change in ammonia emissions for each sector

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Specific assessment

In 2011 the most significant emission sources of each acidifying pollutant in the EEA-33 region were:

  • 'Agriculture' (contributing to 94% of ammonia emissions),
  • 'Road transport' (40% of emissions of nitrogen oxides) and
  • 'Energy production and distribution' (58% of emissions of sulphur oxides) (Figure 5).

These same sectors have also each contributed the most to the overall total reduction of the respective pollutants since 1990. Factors that have contributed to the reduction in these sectors include;

  • for NH3, a reduction in livestock numbers in the agricultural sector (especially cattle) since 1990, changes in the handling and management of organic manures and from the decreased use of nitrogenous fertilisers;
  • for NOX, the introduction of flue-gas abatement techniques (e.g. flue gas desulphurisation, NOX scrubbers and selective catalytic and non-catalytic reduction, i.e. SCR and SNCR) and introduction of combustion modification technologies (such as use of low NOX burners);
  • for SOX, the impact of European Union directives relating to the sulphur content of      certain liquid fuels, and fuel switching from high-sulphur solid (e.g. coal) and liquid (e.g. heavy fuel oil) fuels to low-sulphur fuels (such asnatural gas) for power and heat production purposes within energy production, industrial and domestic sectors.

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

2013 1.1.2 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in October-December (Q4)
Document Actions
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