Energy-related emissions of acidifying substances

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-130-en
Also known as: ENER 006
expired Created 20 Mar 2009 Published 05 Jul 2010 Last modified 19 Apr 2016, 04:57 PM
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Energy-related emissions of acidifying substances (SO2, NOx, and NH3) in Europe fell by almost 3% between 2005 and 2006. Since 1990, these emissions declined by 57% in the EU and 54% in EEA member countries. Most of the total reduction in acidifying substances since 1990 was accounted for by lower SOx emissions from the energy-producing sector and lower NOx emissions in the transport sector. Despite significant progress, further reductions are needed to improve remaining local and transboundary air pollution issues, and for ensuring the EU meets its emissions ceiling targets under the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD) and the UNECE Gothenburg Protocol.

Key messages

Energy-related emissions of acidifying substances (SO2, NOx, and NH3) in Europe fell by almost 3% between 2005 and 2006. Since 1990, these emissions declined by 57% in the EU and 54% in EEA member countries. Most of the total reduction in acidifying substances since 1990 was accounted for by lower SOx emissions from the energy-producing sector and lower NOx emissions in the transport sector. Despite significant progress, further reductions are needed to improve remaining local and transboundary air pollution issues, and for ensuring the EU meets its emissions ceiling targets under the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NECD) and the UNECE Gothenburg Protocol.

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Changes (%) in emissions of acidifying pollutants by source category, 1990-2006, EU-27 (weighted by acid equivalency factors)

Note: The figure shows the emissions of acidifying pollutants (sulphur dioxide SO2, nitrogen oxides NOx and ammonia NH3) each weighted by an acid equivalency factor prior to aggregation to represent their respective acidification potentials

Data source:

EEA

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Sectoral shares of acidifying pollutants (SO2, NOx, NH3; energy and non-energy components) of total emissions, EU-27.

Note: The emissions of acidifying pollutants (sulphur dioxide SO2, nitrogen oxides NOx and ammonia NH3) are each weighted by an acid equivalency factor prior to aggregation to represent their respective acidification potentials

Data source:

EEA

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Overall change in emissions of acidifying substances by country, 1990-2006

Note: The graph shows the emissions of acidifying pollutants (SO2, NOx and NH3) each weighted by an acid equivalency factor prior to aggregation to represent their respective acidification potentials

Data source:

Data provenance info is missing.

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Emissions of acidifying substances decreased significantly in most EEA member countries, with the highest reductions in Luxembourg, the Czech Republic and Germany (Figure 3). However, emissions of acidifying substances increased in Turkey, Romania and Greece between 1990 and 2006. Acidifying emissions from combustion activities decreased by 54 % in the EEA-32 (-57% in the EU) between 1990 and 2006. More than 80% of all emissions are accounted for by energy production, transport and agriculture alone (figure 2).
Energy-related (i.e. combustion) acidifying emissions were responsible for 67% of the total acidifying emissions in 2006, underlining the large contribution that energy use makes to both local and transboundary air pollution. In the case of NOx and SO2, the share of energy-related emissions is even higher with energy-related sectors contributing 96 % to total emissions for each of these respective pollutants. An average European emitted 42 Kg of acidifying substances in 2006. These emissions originated mainly from combustion-related activities (including transport), and varied widely from country to country.
Half of the total reduction in acidifying substances since 1990 is accounted for by lower SOx emissions from the energy-producing sectors (such as public heat and electricity production). This reflects increasing rates of implementation of abatement technologies, a switch from coal to natural gas, an increase share of low sulphur fuels, and improved energy efficiency.
Combustion modification and flue-gas treatment have been used to reduce NOx emissions in the power sector. One of the most common forms of combustion modification is to use low NOx burners, which typically can reduce NOx emissions by up to 40 %. Flue gas treatment such as selective catalytic reduction can also be used to remove NOx from the flue gases. Transport emissions of acidifying pollutants have also decreased significantly, largely due to the introduction of catalytic converters on new cars since the early 1990s. Although, emission controls on vehicles, and particularly catalysts in road vehicles, can increase the rate of N2O generation and thus of greenhouse gases.
Energy-related emissions of ammonia are insignificant. Agriculture is by far the largest contributing sector to EU ammonia emissions.
Across Europe there is an increasing awareness of the contribution made to acidifying pollutant emissions by ship traffic. Many of these actions were implemented as a result of various European policies and measures, including the IPPC Directive, the Large Combustion Plant Directive and vehicle EURO standards.

Indicator specification and metadata

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Generic metadata

Topics:

Energy Energy (Primary topic)

Tags:
energy
DPSIR: N/A
Typology: N/A
Indicator codes
  • ENER 006
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, 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

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Ricardo FERNANDEZ BAYON

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

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