EEA-32 ammonia (NH3) emissions (APE 003) - Assessment published Feb 2010
Air pollution (Primary topic)
Environment and health
Typology: Performance indicator (Type B – Does it matter?)
- APE 003
Key policy question: What progress is being made in reducing emissions of NH3?
- EEA-32 emissions of NH3 have declined by 22% between the years 1990 and 2007. Agriculture was responsible for 93% of NH3 emissions in 2007.
- The reduction in emissions within the agricultural sector is primarily due to a reduction in livestock numbers (especially cattle) since 1990, changes in the handling and management of organic manures and from the decreased use of nitrogenous fertilisers. The reductions achieved in the agricultural sector have been marginally offset by the increased emissions which have occurred during this period in sectors such as transport and to a lesser extent the energy industry and other (non-energy) sectors.
- In general, Member States have made excellent progress in reducing emissions below the level of their respective emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). Twenty-one of the EU-27 Member States have already achieved their ceilings. Only Finland, Germany and Spain still need to make significant further reductions in order to meet their respective ceilings under the NECD.
- Environmental context: NH3 contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. Eutrophication can lead to severe reductions in water quality with subsequent impacts including decreased biodiversity, changes in species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects. NH3 also contributes to the formation of secondary particulate aerosols, an important air pollutant due to its adverse impacts on human health.
Ammonia (NH3) 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.
Change in emissions of ammonia compared with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets (EEA member countries)
Note: The reported change in ammonia (NH3) emissions for each country, 1990-2008 in comparison with the 2010 NECD and Gothenburg protocol targets.
Emission trends of ammonia (EEA member countries, EU-27 Member States)
Note: This chart shows past emission trends of ammonia in the EEA-32 and EU-27 group of countries. In addition - for the EU-27 - the 2010 emission ceiling and aggregated projections reported by Member States are shown.
EEA-32 ammonia emissions have decreased by 22% between 1990 and 2007.
In general, the EU Member States have made excellent progress in reducing emissions below the level of their respective emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD), with 21 of the EU-27 Member States having already achieved their ceilings. These Member States are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
However, a small number of Member States still require relatively significant reductions in NH3 emissions to be made if they are to meet their 2010 ceilings under the NECD. These Member States are Finland, Germany and Spain.
The EFTA-4 (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and CC-3 (Croatia, FYR of Macedonia and Turkey) countries are not members of the European Union and hence have no emission ceilings set under the NECD. However, Switzerland and Norway have ratified the Gothenburg Protocol, requiring them to reduce their emissions to the agreed ceiling specified in the protocol by 2010. Switzerland and Norway both already report emissions below the level of their respective ceilings under the Gothenburg Protocol ceiling.
Specific policy question: How do different sectors and processes contribute to emissions of NH3?
Change in ammonia emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2008 (EEA member countries)
Note: Percentage change in ammonia (NH3) emissions for each sector between 1990 and 2008.
Contribution to total change in ammonia emissions for each sector (EEA member countries)
Note: The contribution made by each sector to the total change in ammonia (NH3) emissions between 1990 and 2008.
The agricultural sector remains the major source of NH3 emissions (93% of total 2007 emissions).
These emissions derive mainly from the decomposition of urea in animal wastes and uric acid in poultry wastes. Emissions depend on the animal species, age, weight, diet, housing systems, waste management and storage techniques. The majority of the reduction in emissions is due to the combination of reduced livestock numbers across
NH3 emissions have also declined in countries outside the European Union (EFTA-4 and CC-3 countries) between 1990 and 2007. Again this is primarily due to reductions which have occurred in the agricultural sector as a result of decreasing animal numbers.
Specific policy question: Answer to unknown question
National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive Inventory
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG Environment)
National emissions reported to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP Convention)
provided by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (Environment and Human Settlements Division, UNECE)
Air Emission data set for Indicators
provided by European Environment Agency (EEA)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.