Transport emissions of air pollutants
With the exception of NH3, transport related emissions of all main contributors to acidification and particulate and ozone formation (CO, CH4, NH3, NOx, NMVOCs, SOx and primary particulates (PM10 and PM2.5)) decreased in the EEA-32 between 1990 and 2008. The maximum of transport related NH3 emissions in the EEA-32 was reached in 2000. NH3 contributes to both acidification and particulate formation.
Are emissions of acidifying substances, particulates and ozone precursors from transport decreasing?
Transport emissions of acidifying substances in EEA member countries
Note: Transport emissions of acidifying substances (NOx, SOx, NH3) in EEA member countries. The transport emissions data include all of road transport and other transport/mobile sources, less the memo items, which include international aviation (LTO (Landing and Take Off) and cruise) and international marine (international sea traffic- bunkers).
Transport emissions of primary and secondary particulates in EEA member countries
Note: Transport emissions of emissions of primary and secondary particulates (NH3, NOx, PM10, PM2.5, SOx) in EEA member countries. The transport emissions data include all of road transport and other transport/mobile sources, less the memo items, which include international aviation (LTO (Landing and Take Off) and cruise) and international marine (international sea traffic- bunkers).
Transport emissions of ozone precursors in EEA member countries
Note: Transport emissions of ozone precursors (CH4, CO, NMVOC, NOx) in EEA member countries. The transport emissions data include all of road transport and other transport/mobile sources, less the memo items, which include international aviation (LTO (Landing and Take Off) and cruise) and international marine (international sea traffic- bunkers).
In the EEA-32 transport
emissions of SOx and NOx were reduced by 68 and 32 %
respectively between 1990 and 2008. The introduction of both catalytic converters and
reduced sulphur in fuels has contributed substantially to this reduction,
offsetting the pressure from increased road traffic in the same period. For the
EEA-32 NH3 emissions from transport contributed only 2 % to
total NH3 emissions in 2008. However, transport related NH3
emissions increased by 330 % in the EEA-32 between 1990 and. The NH3 emissions
from road transport, have been rising as a result of the increasing use of three-way
catalytic converters in the vehicle fleet (this is due to an unwanted reaction
involving hydrogen which reduces NO to NH3). However, emissions are
projected to fall in the future as the second generation of catalysts (which
emit lower levels of NH3 than the first generation catalysts)
penetrate the vehicle fleet.
The EU-27 contributed 89, 87 and 96 % to transport related NOx, SOx and NH3 emissions of the EEA-32.
Within the group of the ozone
precursors (CH4, NOx, NMVOC and CO) transport emissions
of all pollutants decreased (64, 32, 72 and 71 % respectively) in the
EEA-32 between 1990 and 2008. Reductions have occurred mainly because of
increasing prevalence of catalytic converters for road vehicles and as a result
of tightening of EU regulations on new vehicle emissions limits.
The EU-27 contributed 87, 89, 82 and 89 % to transport related CH4,CO, NMVOC and NOx emissions of the EEA-32.
The secondary inorganic
particulates (NOx, SOx and NH3) precursors are the same as the
acidifying substances. Their trends are described above. In the EEA-32 transport
emissions of PM10 and PM2.5 were reduced by 21 and
31 % respectively between 1990 and 2008. Particulate filters contributed to the reduction of
primary particulates from transport.
The EU-27 contributed 97 and 98 % to transport related PM10 and PM2.5 emissions of the EEA-32.
Indicator specification and metadata
The indicator is based on the emission trend assessment of CO, NOx, NMVOCs, SOx and primary particulates.
Emissions are expressed as percentage over the 1990 levels.
Policy context and targets
Directive 2008/50/EC (EC, 2008) sets LVs for the atmospheric concentrations of main pollutants, including sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), airborne particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), lead, carbon monoxide (CO), benzene, and ozone (O3) for EU Member States. These limits are related to transport implicitly, but the introduction of progressively stricter Euro emission standards and fuel quality standards has led to substantial reductions in air pollutant emissions. Policies aimed at reducing fuel consumption in the transport sector to cut greenhouse gas emissions may also help further reduce air pollutant emissions.
Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are not members of the European Union and hence have no emission ceilings set under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) 2001/81/EC. As well as most of the EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland have ratified the 1999 United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (UNECE Trend in emissions of air pollutants from transport in EEA-33 LRTAP) Gothenburg Protocol, which required them to reduce their emissions to the agreed ceiling specified in the protocol by 2010. Liechtenstein has also signed, but has not ratified the protocol.
Both the NECD and Gothenburg protocol set reductions targets for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and non-methane volatile organic compounds and ammonia for the 33 EEA member countries. There are substantial differences in emission ceilings, and hence emission reduction percentages for different countries, due to the different sensitivities of the affected ecosystems and technical feasibility for reductions.
Related policy documents
1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone
Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution 1999 Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone, amended on 4 May 2012.
Council Directive 96/61/EC (IPPC)
Council Directive 96/61/EC of 24 September 1996 concerning Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC). Official Journal L 257.
Directive 98/70/EC, quality of petrol and diesel fuels
Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 relating to the quality of petrol and diesel fuels and amending Directive 93/12/EEC
Directive 2001/80/EC, large combustion plants
Directive 2001/80/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2001 on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from large combustion plants
Directive 2001/81/EC, national emission ceilings
Directive 2001/81/EC, on nation al emissions ceilings (NECD) for certain atmospheric pollutants. Emission reduction targets for the new EU10 Member States have been specified in the Treaty of Accession to the European Union 2003 [The Treaty of Accession 2003 of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia. AA2003/ACT/Annex II/en 2072] in order that they can comply with the NECD.
Methodology for indicator calculation
For air pollutants officially reported data to EMEP/LRTAP has been used. Please refer to indicators CSI002 and CSI003
Methodology for gap fillingWhere a complete time series of emissions data has not been reported, data has been gap-filled according to EEA ETC/ACC methodologies. Details of the gap-filling procedure for the air pollutant data set are described in the European Union emission inventory report 1990–2008 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) (EEA Technical Report No 7/2010).
No methodology references available.
Interpolation/extrapolation procedures are used for gap-filling of the underlying emissions dataset.
Data sets uncertainty
A quantification of uncertainty in the European Union LRTAP emission inventory requires the provision of detailed underpinning information on emission uncertainties from Member States.
No uncertainty has been specified
National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive Inventory
provided by Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV)
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)
Transport (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- TERM 003
Contacts and ownership
EEA Contact InfoCinzia Pastorello
EEA Management Plan2010 2.9.2 (note: EEA internal system)
Frequency of updates
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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