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Emission inventory

Important to any environmental policy is an emission inventory that identifies and quantifies the main sources of pollutants. Such an inventory provides a common and consistent means for comparing the relative contribution of different emission sources and hence can be a basis for policies to reduce emissions.


CORINAIR 90 is an air emission inventory for Europe. It was part of the CORINE work plan set up by the European Council of Ministers in 1985.

The goal of CORINAIR 90 is to provide a complete, consistent and transparent air pollutant emission inventory for Europe in 1990 within a reasonable timescale to enable widespread use of the inventory for policy, research and other purposes.

Twenty nine European countries estimated their emissions for 1990 according to the CORINAIR methodology as developed by the European Environment Agency Task Force.

The CORINAIR system has now been integrated in the work programme of the European Environmental Agency (EEA) and work continuing through the European Topic Centre on Air Emission (ETC/AEM). It is the task of the ETC/AEM to develop the methodology and prepare emission inventories for subsequent years as well as update the 1990 inventory.

This report

This report has been prepared by ETC/AEM as part of project SA2 of the EEA work programme.

Whereas Summary Report nr.1 addressed the 11 main source sectors, this report examines the 57 source sub-sectors within these main source sectors. This report identifies the major source sub-sectors of air emissions in Europe and provides national comparisons for each of these.

The goal is to show:

  • the relevant sources of air pollution in Europe, and
  • the distribution of these sources among European countries.

Of all the eight pollutants investigated, the largest ten source sub-sectors are responsible for more than 90% of total emissions, with the exception of CO2 (89%) and NMVOC (72%).

This report therefore presents the ten most important source sub-sectors of air emissions for all investigated air pollutants in CORINAIR 90 in Europe and in each of the 29 European countries.

Total and per capita emission comparisons for these top ten source sub-sectors in Europe are provided for each country.

This report makes use of the most detailed source categories as distinguished in CORINAIR 90 for the ten most important source sub-sectors in Europe.

Structure of CORINAIR 90

This emission inventory system contains information about the location and activity of sources, as well as about the emission per activity (emission factor, EF). The multiplication of activity and EF gives the emission for each source.

CORINAIR 90 distinguishes between 1480 different geographical areas within Europe. Their classification is based on the Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS, level 3) defined by EUROSTAT. These areas are grouped together to form NUTS level 2 (460 areas), level 1 (172 areas) and level 0 (29 countries). For this report only NUTS level 0 is considered. Further reports, yet to come, will present more disaggregated information available in CORINAIR 90.

Large point sources (LPS) are treated separately within CORINAIR 90. Their emissions are assigned not only to a specific territorial unit but also to the exact location provided in terms of longitude and latitude.

The participating countries estimated activities and EFs for the source sectors requested by the CORINAIR 90 methodology for eight pollutants.

List of pollutants

  • sulphur oxides (SOx as SO2 )
  • nitrogen oxides (NOx as NO2)
  • non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC)
  • methane (CH4)
  • carbon monoxide (CO)
  • carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • ammonia (NH3).

List of source sectors (SNAP code)

The CORINAIR 90 inventory distinguishes between 277 different air emission source sectors. These are named according to a Selected Nomenclature of Air Pollutants (SNAP level 3). Similar source sectors have been grouped hierarchically together under 57 sub-sectors (SNAP level 2) and 11 main sectors (SNAP level 1).

The source sub-sectors discussed in this report are identified with the 57 sub-sectors (SNAP level 2, see appendix A).

An overview of the emissions of the 11 main-sectors has been given in a previous report (CORINAIR 90: Summary Report nr. 1).

Figure 1 Structure of emission source sectors in CORINAIR 90 (SNAP levels)

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List of countries

This emission inventory covers the whole of Europe with a few exceptions. This report will use the term ‘Europe’ as an equivalent expression for the 29 participating countries as listed in appendix B.

All countries (with the exception of Switzerland) have notified the EEA that their CORINAIR 90 inventory is final. ‘Final’ means that the inventory has been submitted to a number of consistency checks, adjustments and updates and no further changes are expected from the national expert. However, minor adjustments may be made to improve consistency between countries before publication of the Final CORINAIR 90 Report. The data should be referenced as European Environment Agency: CORINAIR 90 Data; Summary Report nr.2, December 1995.


Error estimation

Errors may vary considerably for different pollutants and for different sources. E.g. figures for SO2 emissions that are estimated from continuous emission monitoring or figures for CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning usually have a small error of less than ten percent whereas figures for sources with highly uncertain emission factors and activity rates have the largest errors which can exceed a factor of two. Such large errors have to be expected e.g. for N2O (and NH3) emissions from nature. Furthermore, some emissions have not been estimated at all by some countries due to a lack of information on actual rates of emission or lack of awareness of the importance of these sources (gaps).

Future developments of CORINAIR 90

The next step for CORINAIR is the emission inventory for the year 1994. This is a major improvement of the CORINAIR 90 inventory with the intention to give emissions for more pollutants in a shorter time period. For details see the corresponding study of the EEA (‘Review of CORINAIR 90 - Proposals for Air Emissions 94’).

This will build on the experience gained from the CORINAIR 90 inventory as well as other developments such as related work on the preparation of the joint EMEP/CORINAIR Emission Inventory Guidebook, IPCC Guidebook on Greenhouse Gases, USEPA AP-42 (Fifth Edition) and PARCOM/ATMOS and will provide an improved inventory for 1994 by the end of 1996.

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