7. Nitrous Oxide N2O

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7. NITROUS OXIDE - N2O

7.1 N2O-emissions by countries

The 1990 annual total N2O-emissions for EUROPE were estimated to be 1.9 million tonnes. These emissions broken down by EU-12, EFTA-5 and PHARE-10 countries are shown in figure 7.1. The largest contributor were the EU-12 countries with 69%, second largest the PHARE-10 countries with 24%; the EFTA-5 countries contributed 5% and Germany (former East) and Malta 2%.

Figure 7.1: Contribution in % to the EUROPEAN total N2O-emissions

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Figure 7.2 shows the relative contribution of individual countries to the total of 1.9 million tonnes. In 1990 the largest contributing countries were France (12%), Spain and Greece (each 11%); the smallest contributing countries were Malta (0.004%), Luxembourg (0.04%), Estonia (0.2%) and Austria (0.4%).These differences are due to different size of population, different per capita emissions (see also paragraph 7.3) and differences in emissions from natural sources.

Figure 7.2: Contribution in % of each country to the EUROPEAN total N2O-emissions

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7.2 N2O-emissions per group

More than two thirds of the N2O-emissions for EUROPE resulted together from agriculture (group 10, 39%) and nature (group 11, 29%) in 1990. Group 4 (production processes) contributed with 19% and group 1 (public power, cogeneration and district heating) with 5% to the N2O-emissions. Group 2 (commercial, institutional and residential combustion), group 3 (industrial combustion), group 7 (road transport) and group 9 (waste treatment and disposal) produced the remaining 8% of the N2O-emissions in EUROPE. Other groups were not relevant for N2O-emissions.

The split of the N2O-emissions into groups for EU-12 countries, PHARE-10 countries and EFTA-5 countries is quite similar compared to the split for EUROPE with the exception of the larger contribution of group 1 (public power, cogeneration and district heating; 9%) and group 10 (agriculture; 53%) in the PHARE-10 countries as well as of group 4 (production processes; 24%) in the EU-12 countries and the smaller contribution of group 4 (7%) in the PHARE-10 countries.

The differences of contributions especially of the main source groups 11, 10, 4 and 1 to the total emissions are larger between countries than these groups (see also table 7.1). The relative contribution of the N2O-emissions of group 11 (nature) ranges from 88% (Greece) to 0% (Norway, Hungary, Malta and United Kingdom), of group 10 (agriculture) from 88% (Ireland and Lithuania) to 6% (Greece), of group 4 (production processes) from 53% (Germany former West) to 0% (Denmark and others) and of group 1 (public power, cogeneration and district heating) from 16% (Belgium, Flemish region) to 0% (the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland).

However it is evident from these differences in the relative contribution of sourcegroups to a countries total emissions that strategies for reduction of N2O-emissions need individual solutions as well as common elements.

Figure 7.3: Contribution in % of source groups to the EUROPEAN N2O-emissions

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7.3 N2O-emissions per capita

Only anthropogenic emissions are expected to be related to population for these calculations. Therefore group 11 (nature) has been excluded.

For EUROPE the average N2O-emissions per capita were 3 kg/capita. Compared to this number the per capita N2O-emissions were equal for the EU-12 countries with 3 kg/capita, 33% smaller for the EFTA-5 countries with 2 kg/capita and equal for the PHARE-10. This comparison is also shown in figure 7.4 and table 9.

Significant different to the average of EUROPE are the per capita N2O-emissions in Ireland with 12 kg/capita. The smallest per capita N2O-emissions were in Malta with 0 kg/capita, Austria and the Netherlands with 1 kg/capita (see figure 7.5). In most of the countries the per capita N2O-emissions are between 2 kg/capita and 4 kg/capita. The smallest per capita emissions is a factor of larger than 12 smaller compared to the largest number.

Figure 7.4: N2O-emissions per capita for EUROPE

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Figure 7.5: N2O-emissions per capita for individual countries

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7.4 N2O-emissions per km2

The emissions per km2 have been calculated from the total emissions, the emissions of group 11 (nature) having been included in this case.

For EUROPE the average N2O-emissions per km2 were estimated as 397 kg/km2. Compared to this number the per km2 N2O-emissions were 44% larger for the EU-12 countries with 570 kg/km2, 7% larger for the PHARE-10 countries with 426 kg/km2 and 80% smaller for the EFTA-5 countries with 81 kg/km2. This comparison is also shown in figure 7.6 and table 10.

Figure 7.6: N2O-emissions per km2 for EUROPE

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Again the differences are much larger if individual countries are compared: the largest N2O-emissions per km2 were for Greece (1 555 kg/km2) and the next largest ones for Belgium, Flemish region (926 kg/km2), Belgium, Wallonie region (810 kg/km2) and Czech Republic (789 kg/km2). The smallest emissions per km2 for N2O were for Norway (48 kg/km2), Sweden (73 kg/km2) and Finland (94 kg/km2). Figure 7.7 shows the countries ranked according their N2O-emission per km2. The differences in the emissions per km2 between countries are much larger compared to the per capita emissions. The smallest number being 32 times smaller than the largest number.

Figure 7.7: N2O-emissions per km2 for individual countries

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Table 7.1: Nitrous oxide emissions per country and group

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