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The indicators maintained by the European Environment Agency are listed below in chronological order (the most recently updated indicators on top). The EEA indicators are designed to answer key policy questions and to support all phases of environmental policy making, from designing policy frameworks to setting targets, and from policy monitoring and evaluation to communicating to policy-makers and the public.
More information on indicators, including definitions of the thematic sets of indicators managed by the EEA, is available on the About indicators page.
Between 2006 and 2009, soil sealing, or imperviousness, increased in all EEA-39 countries by a total of 4 364 k m 2 . This corresponds to an annual average increase of 1 454 k m 2 , or 0.027 % of the total EEA-39 area. During this period, the rate of increase in soil sealing relative to country area varied from 0.001 % to 0.48 %. In 2009, the percentage of a countries' total area that was sealed also varied greatly, with values ranging from 0.15 % to 15.23 %. The highest sealing values, as a percentage of country area, occurred in small countries with high population densities, while the lowest sealing values could be found in large countries with low population densities.
The most problematic situation occurs in countries where there is already a high percentage of sealing and where the annual rate of increase relative to country area is high.
If 2005 is taken as the reference point , the cost of purchasing motor cars has decreased significantly since 1996, in comparison to average consumer prices .
In contrast, the costs of passenger services and the operation of personal transport equipment has generally increased.
The volatility of the transport market can be seen in 2009, for example, when overall transport prices fell at a faster rate than average consumer prices, primarily due to a significant drop in the average crude oil price between 2008 and 2009, and subsequent reductions in fuel prices.
Rail transport prices are less closely tied to the costs of fuel as most services operate under 'public service obligation' and an increasing proportion of passenger rail is electric-powered.
While water is generally abundant in Europe, water scarcity and droughts continue to affect some water basins in particular seasons. The Mediterranean region and most of the densely populated river basins in different parts of Europe are hot spots for water stress conditions.
During winter, some 30 million inhabitants live under water stress conditions, while the figure for summer is 70 million. This corresponds to 6 % and 14 % of the total population of Europe respectively.
Around 20 % of total the population of the Mediterranean region live under permanent water stress conditions. More than half (53 %) of the Mediterranean population is effected by water stress during the summer.
At 46 % and 35 % respectively, rivers and groundwater resources provide more than 80 % of the total water demand in Europe.
Agriculture accounts for 36 % of total water use on an annual scale. In summer, this increases to about 60 %. Agriculture in the Mediterranean region alone accounts for almost 75 % of total water use for agriculture in Europe.
Public water supply is second to agriculture, accounting for 32 % of total water use. This puts pressure on renewable water resources, particularly in high population density areas with no water coming from upstream.
Service sector has become one of the main pressures on renewable water resources, accounting for 11 % of total annual water use. Small Mediterranean islands in particular are under severe water stress conditions due to receiving 10-15 times more tourists than they have local inhabitants.
Achieving levels of good air quality in Europe is still a challenge, especially in urban areas with high volumes of traffic.
Despite considerable improvements over recent decades, air pollution is still responsible for more than 400 000 premature deaths in Europe each year. It also continues to damage vegetation and ecosystems.
Transport contributes significantly to the emissions of many air pollutants and the resulting poor air quality, particularly in urban areas with high traffic volumes.
The annual EU limit value for NO 2 , one of the main air quality pollutants of concern and typically associated with vehicle emissions, was widely exceeded across Europe in 2013, with 93 % of all exceedances occurring at road‑side monitoring locations.
In 2013, about 17 % of the EU‑28 urban population was exposed to PM 10 above the EU daily limit value. In 2013, transport also contributed to 13 % and 15 % of the total PM 10 and PM 2.5 primary emissions, respectively, in the EU Member States. Non-exhaust emissions are estimated to equal about 50 % of the exhaust emissions of primary PM 10 and about 22 % of those of primary PM 2.5 .
The average age of road vehicles in Europe has increased since 2000.
In 2014, the average age of passenger cars was 7.4 years, 8 % older than that of the average fleet in 2000. For other vehicle types, the average age was 8.4 years for vans, 8.1 years for heavy duty vehicles, 9.1 years for two-wheelers, and 9.4 years for buses.
The proportion of renewable energy used by the transport sector is growing but remains small. A cross the EU‑28, according to official statistics, the average share of renewable energy used in transport was 5.4 % in 2013 , a 0.3 % increase compared to the previous year. P reliminary EEA estimates indicate that the share further increased to 5.6 % in 2014. These figures include only those biofuels that meet the sustainability criteria of the European Union's (EU) Renewable Energy Directive.
All EU Member States are required to achieve a 10 % share in renewable energy by 2020, for all transport options. Individual Member States' progress towards this target varies, with most of them requiring significant further increases.
Since 1980, the real price of transport fuel has fluctuated between 0.75 and 1.25 EUR per litre, with an average of 0.98 EUR . This price covers all transport fuels expressed as the equivalent consumption in unleaded petrol, corrected for inflation to 2005 prices and including taxes.
At just 0.96 EUR, t he average European fuel price in December 2015 was slightly lower than the long-term average .
The price of fuel is an important determinant of the demand for transport and the efficiency with which fuel is used. Both freight and transport demand have increased significantly over the past years.
The level of internalisation of environmental externalities through fuel taxes has, however, not significantly changed during this period. T axes on transport fuels have not been widely used in Europe as an environmental policy measure that directly influences transport demand levels, thereby reducing environmentally harmful effects caused by the sector .
Compared with 2013, sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2014 increased by more than 50 %, continuing an upward trend since 2008. Nevertheless, electric vehicles (EVs) continue to constitute only a very small fraction of new vehicle registrations in the EU‑28 .
According to the most recent estimates, the share of alternative fuel passenger cars in the total fleet has remained constantly around 5 % over the last five years, with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) cars playing a dominant role. The number of electric vehicles (EVs) has grown, but represents only a minor proportion (0.07 %) of total passenger car fleet numbers.
Since the mid-nineties 1990s, spending on transport infrastructure increased significantly across the EEA-33 member countries, reaching a peak in 2009. It has subsequently decreased each year. Despite these reductions, in 2013, the level of spending was 7 % higher than in 1995.
The share of road transport investment has decreased from a high of 62 % in 1995 to a 53 % share of total investment in 2013. Rail investments comprised a 35 % share in 2013, a larger fraction than in 1995 when the share was less than 27 %. Infrastructure spending on other transport modes has remained broadly constant.
Over the last decade, EU investment trends varied by region. The EU-13 Member States have generally seen rises in the level of transport investment, while the EU-15 Member States have seen a decrease in spending on transport infrastructure across all transport modes.
Freight transport grew considerably in the EU‑28 between 2000 and 2008. A sharp fall in freight demand occurred in the years immediately following the economic crisis and, following a limited recovery, freight volumes have since remained largely stable.
In 2013, total freight transport was 7.3 % higher than in 2000, but remains 9 % below its 2007 peak . It decreased by 2 % between 2011 and 2012, mainly due to a 3 % reduction in road freight transport, and remained broadly stable in 2013.
Maritime freight transport decreased by 2 % between 2012 and 2013, whereas inland waterway transport increased by the same amount. Road transport increased by 1.6 %, air transport decreased by 1 %, and rail transport was stable compared to the previous year.
The modal share remains constant; road transport dominates freight transported over land (75 %), followed by rail (18 %) and inland waterways (7 %).
In the EEA-33 countries, emissions of a number of compounds, categorised as persistent organic pollutants (POPs), decreased between 1990 and 2013. Emissions reductions were noted for hexachlorobenzene (HCB, by 96 %), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, by 76 %), dioxins and furans (by 84 %), and poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs, by 62 %).
While the majority of countries report that POPs emissions fell during this period, in some countries emissions increased.
In 2013, the most significant sources of emissions for these POPs included the ‘Commercial, institutional and households’ (26 % of HCB, 40 % of dioxin and furan and 18% of PCB emissions) and ‘Industrial processes and product use’ (23 % of HCB and 46% of PCB) sectors.
Between 1990 and 2013, final energy efficiency increased by 25 % in the EU-28 countries, at an annual average rate of 1.2 % per year. This increase was driven by improvements in the industrial sector (1.9 % per year) and households (1.6 % per year). The rate of improvement was lower in the transport sector (0.9 % per year) and even less in the service sector (0.4 % per year). Half of the efficiency gains achieved through technological innovations in the household sector were offset by the increasing number of electrical appliances in use and larger homes.
Across the EEA-33 countries, emissions of lead decreased by 92 % between 1990 and 2013, while emissions of mercury fell by 73 % and cadmium by 75 % over the same period.
Lead emissions from the road transport sector decreased by 98 % between 1990 and 2013 - a particular success story . Nevertheless, this sector still remains an important source of lead, contributing around 15 % of the remaining lead emissions in the EEA-33 region. Since 2004, little progress has been made in reducing emissions further; 99 % of the total reduction from 1990 levels of lead emissions was achieved by 2004.
There was no discernible trend in European ozone concentrations between 2003 and 2012, in terms of the annual mean of the daily maximum eight hour average measured at any type of station.
It is difficult to attribute observed ozone exceedences, or changes therein, to individual causes such as climate change.
Future climate change is expected to increase ozone concentrations, but this increase should not exceed 5 µg/m 3 by the middle of the century and would therefore likely be outweighed by reductions in ozone levels due to planned future emissions reductions.
End of the century projections for the effects of climate change involve an increase of up to 8 µg/m 3 in ozone concentrations .
The consumption of renewable energy continued to increase in 2013. The share of renewable energy in the gross final energy consumption in the EU-28 countries reached 15 % in 2013, representing 75 % of the EU's 20 % renewable energy target for 2020. Renewable energy contributed 16.5 % of gross final energy consumption for heating and cooling, 25.4 % of final electricity consumption and 5.4 % of transport fuels consumption in 2013.
In 2013, 25 Member States (i.e. all except Luxembourg, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) met or exceeded their indicative targets set under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED), while 21 Member States (i.e. all except Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) exceeded the indicative trajectories set in their National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAPs).
In 2013, Bulgaria, Estonia and Sweden managed to reach their binding renewable energy share targets for 2020 set under the RED.
Passenger transport demand in the EU-28 increased by nearly 1.1 % between 2012 and 2013, after an overall downward trend since its peak in 2009. Car passenger travel remains the dominant transport mode, with a share well above 70 %. Air transport grew by 10 % in 2011, but stabilised in 2012 and 2013. However, it retained its pre-crisis modal share (9 %). The share of rail passenger travel has grown slightly in recent years, accounting for 6.6 % of transport demand in 2013.
Land only passenger transport demand continued to grow in 2013 in the non-EU-28 countries, with Iceland experiencing 2.9 % growth, Turkey 3.2 %, Switzerland 1.6 % and Norway 1.3 %.
Between 1990 and 2013, the transport sector achieved some significant reductions in the emissions of major air pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) (both around 83 %), nitrogen oxides ( NO x ) (35%), sulphur oxide ( SO x ) (36%) and particulate matter (35 % in the case of PM 2.5 and 27 % for PM 10 ).
Emissions of all pollutants decreased in 2013 compared with the previous year. NO x emissions decreased by 5 % , SO x by 12 % , and PM 10 and PM 2.5 by 9 % and 10 % respectively. The latest data shows that non-exhaust emissions of primary PM 10 and PM 2.5 make up 27 % and 16 % of total transport emissions of these pollutants , respectively.
All transport modes have experienced a decrease in emissions since 1990, except for international aviation and shipping for which emissions of each pollutant have increased. Also, ammonia (NH 3 ) emissions from road transport have increased following the introduction of three-way catalytic converters on road vehicles, from which NH 3 is released as a byproduct.
By the end of 2012, EU Member States had designated 5.9 %, or a total of 338 000 km 2 , of their seas as part of a complex network of marine protected areas.
As such, the EU had not reached Aichi target 11 of 10 % coverage of its seas. However, the target was reached in certain regional seas (Baltic Sea, the Greater North Sea including the Kattegat and the English Channel, and the Western Mediterranean Sea)
In 2013, the transport sector contributed almost one quarter (24.4 %) of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions. The figure increases to 19.8%, if international aviation and maritime emissions are excluded.
In 2013, emissions from t ransport (including aviation) were 19.4 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2013. Emissions fell by 0.6 % compared to the previous year. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels (+ 93 %), followed by international shipping (+ 28 %) and road transport (+ 17 %).
Emissions will need to fall by 67 % by 2050 in order to meet the long-term reduction target of the 2011 Transport White Paper.
Anthropogenic emissions of the main air pollutants decreased significantly in most EEA-33 member countries between 1990 and 2013:
Nitrogen oxides (NO x ) emissions decreased by 49 % (54 % in the EU-28);
Sulphur oxides (SO x ) emissions decreased by 80 % (87 % in the EU-28);
Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) emissions decreased by 57 % (59 % in the EU-28);
Ammonia (NH 3 ) emissions decreased by 15 % (27 % in the EU-28); and
Fine particulate matter (PM 2.5 ) emissions decreased by 34 % (34 % in the EU-28).
The EU-28 met its continuing obligation to maintain emissions of NO x , SO x , NH 3 and NMVOC below legally binding targets as specified by the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD). However, a number of individual Member States reported emissions above their NECD emission ceilings: six for NO X (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland and Luxembourg), six for NH 3 (Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands and Spain) and three for NMVOCs (Denmark, Germany and Ireland). There are no emission ceilings for primary PM 2.5 .
Three additional EEA member countries have emission ceilings for 2010 set in the Gothenburg Protocol under the 1979 UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Liechtenstein reported emissions above their NO x ceiling. Liechtenstein and Norway reported emissions above their NH 3 ceiling.
Emissions reduction commitments for 2020 have been set under the 2012 amended Gothenburg Protocol for NO x , SO 2 , NMVOC, NH 3 , and PM 2.5 . The EU-28 as a whole is on track to meet its reduction commitments.
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.
PDF generated on 30/04/2016 05:31
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