Find content across the European environment - state and outlook 2010
Emissions of the acidifying pollutants, nitrogen oxides (NO X ), sulphur oxides (SO X ) and ammonia (NH 3 ), have decreased significantly in most of the individual EEA member countries between 1990 and 2011. Emissions of SO X have decreased by 74%, NO X by 44% and NH 3 by 25% since 1990 within the EEA-33.
Data reported under the NECD indicates that in 2011 the EU-28 as a whole met its continuing obligation to maintain emissions of NO X , SO X and NH 3 below 2010 target as specified by the EU’s National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD). However, the EU-15 as a whole and seven individual Member States, all of which are in the EU-15 group, reported emissions in 2011 above their NECD emission ceilings for NO X . Four EU member states reported 2011 NH 3 emissions above the levels of their NECD ceilings, three of which are in the group of fifteen pre-2004 EU member states.
Three additional countries which are current EEA Member States have emission ceilings for 2010 under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). Both Liechtenstein and Norway reported NO X and NH 3 emissions in 2011 that were higher than their respective 2010 ceilings.
Eutrophication The magnitude of the risk of ecosystem eutrophication and its geographical coverage has diminished only slightly over the years. The predictions for 2010 and 2020 indicate that the risk is still widespread over Europe. This is in conflict with the EU's long-term objective of not exceeding critical loads of airborne acidifying and eutrophying substances in sensitive ecosystem areas (National Emission Ceilings Directive, 6th Environmental Action Programme, Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution).
Acidification The situation has considerably improved and it is predicted to improve further. The interim environmental objective for 2010 (National Emission Ceilings Directive) will most likely not be met completely. However, the European ecosystem areas where the critical load will be exceeded is predicted to have declined by more than 80 % in 2010 with 1990 as a base year. By 2020, it is expected that the risk of ecosystem acidification will only be an issue at some hot spots, in particular at the border area between the Netherlands and Germany.
Most vegetation and agricultural crops are exposed to ozone levels exceeding the long term objective given in the EU Air Quality Directive. A significant fraction is also exposed to levels above the 2010 target value defined in the Directive. Compared to 2009, the ozone indicators show a mixed behavior Averaged over all rural background stations, the concentration relevant for the exposure of crops is slightly higher. However, the agricultural area exposed to concentrations above the target value did not increase in 2009 and 2010 compared to previous years, but the area exposed to levels between 12 000 and 18 000 (µg/m 3 ).hour is larger than in the previous years. With respect to the exposure of forests, the concentrations are similar compared to previous years.
The effect-related concentrations, addressing exposure of crops to ozone over several summer months, show large year-to-year variations. Over the period 1996-2010 there is a tendency to increased exposure until 2006; and a tendency to decreasing levels after 2006. However, due to the large year-to-year variations, this development has not proven to be statistically significant.
Between 2010 and 2011, passenger transport demand in the EU-28 (without Croatia) increased by nearly 1 %, reaching a new all-time high, mainly attributed to a 10 % increase in aviation. Demand steadily increased between 1995 and 2009, but at a slower rate than GDP. The largest increases have been in air (66 %) and car (23 %) demand between 1995 and 2011. However, the economic recession led to a decline in 2009 and 2010 (0.1 %). The car dominates the land passenger transport share at 76 %, followed by air (9 %) bus and coach (8 %) and rail (6 %).
Croatia experienced a 16 % increase in land passenger transport over the period 2001 to 2011. Land passenger demand, for the non-EU EEA Member States, also showed high growth. In particular, Turkey and Iceland at 53 % and 21 % respectively, compared to 7 % for the EU-28. Regarding the modal split, Switzerland’s rail share has increased over the past decade, being around 18 % in 2011, by far the highest value within the EEA-33. Correspondingly, the share for car in Switzerland is below the EEA-33 average. Turkey has the highest modal share of bus and coach use within the EEA-33 although it declined from 60 % in 1995 to 44 % in 2011. Iceland and Norway have car shares well above the EEA-33 average at 89 % and 88 % respectively.
Consumption is defined as production plus imports minus exports of controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol.
Production is defined under Article 1(5) of the Montreal Protocol as production minus the amount destroyed minus the amount entirely used as feedstock in the manufacture of other chemicals.
Concentrations of BOD and total ammonium have decreased in European rivers in the period 1992 to 2011 (Fig. 1), mainly due to general improvement in wastewater treatment.
See also WISE interactive maps: Mean annual BOD in rivers and Mean annual Total Ammonium in rivers
Average nitrate concentrations in European groundwaters increased from 1992 to 1998, but have declined again since 2005.
On average, the nitrate concentration in European rivers declined by 0.5 mg N/l over the period 1992 to 2011 (20% relative to the average concentration), reflecting the effect of measures to reduce agricultural inputs of nitrate as well as improvement in wastewater treatment.
Average orthophosphate concentrations in European rivers have decreased markedly over the last two decades- On average concentrations declined by 0.08 mg P/l between 1992 and 2011 (72% decrease relative to the average concentration). Also average lake phosphorus concentration decreased over the period 1992-2011 (on average by 0.008 mg P/l, or 27% relative to the average concentration). The decrease in phosphorus concentrations reflects both improvement in wastewater treatment and reduction in phosphorus in detergents.
Overall, reductions in the levels of freshwater nutrients over the last two decades primarily reflect improvements in wastewater treatment. Emissions from agriculture continue to be a significant source.
The quality of water at designated bathing waters in Europe (coastal and inland) has improved significantly since 1990.
Compliance with mandatory values (or at least sufficient quality) in EU coastal bathing waters increased from just below 80 % in 1990 to 95.3 % in 2012. Compliance with guide values (or excellent quality) likewise rose from over 68 % to 81.2 % in 2012.
Compliance with mandatory values (or at least sufficient quality) in EU inland bathing waters increased from over 52 % in 1990 to 91% in 2012. Similarly, the rate of compliance with guide values (or excellent quality) moved from over 36 % in 1990 to 72 % in 2012.
Three independent long term records of global average near-surface (land and ocean) annual temperature show that the decade between 2003 and 2012 was 0.76°C to 0.81°C warmer than the pre-industrial average.
Between 1990 and 2010, the rate of change in global average temperature has been close to the 0.2°C per decade.
Global mean surface temperature rose rapidly from the 1970s, but has been relatively flat in the last decade mostly due to heat transfer between upper and deep ocean waters.
The Arctic has warmed significantly more than the rest of the globe, and this is projected to continue into the future.
The best estimate for the further rise in global average temperature at the end of 21st century is between 1.8 and 4.0°C for the lowest and highest SRES marker scenarios (IPCC SRES) that assume no additional political measures to limit emissions. When climate model uncertainties are taken into account, the likely range increases to 1.1 to 6.4 °C. The EU target of limiting global average temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels is projected to be exceeded during the second half of this century and likely around 2050, for all six IPCC SRES scenarios.
The average temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2003-2012) is 1.3°C above the pre-industrial level, which makes it the warmest on record.
Climate simulations from different regional climate models all using A1B SRES scenario show that the annual average land temperature over Europe will continue to increase by more than global average temperature during the 21 st century. By the 2021-2050 period, temperature increases of between 1.0°C and 2.5°C are projected, and by 2071-2100 this increases to between 2.5°C and 4.0°C.
The largest temperature increase during 21 st century is projected over eastern and northern Europe in winter and over Southern Europe in summer.
Extremes of cold have become less frequent in Europe while warm extremes have become more frequent. Since 1880 the average length of summer heat waves over Western Europe doubled and frequency of hot days almost tripled.
Land take by the expansion of residential areas and construction sites is the main cause of the increase in the coverage of urban land at the European level. Agricultural zones and, to a lesser extent, forests and semi-natural and natural areas, are disappearing in favour of the development of artificial surfaces. This affects biodiversity since it decreases habitats, the living space of a number of species, and fragments the landscapes that support and connect them. The annual land take in European countries assessed by 2006 Corine land cover project (EEA39 except Greece) was approximately 108 000 ha/year in 2000-2006. In 21 countries covered by both periods (1990-2000 and 2000-2006) the annual land take decreased by 9 % in the later period. The composition of land taken areas changed, too. More arable land and permanent crops and less pastures and mosaic farmland were taken by artificial development then in 1990-2000. Identified trends are expected to change little when next assessment for 2006-2012 becomes available in 2014.