Emissions of the main ground-level ozone precursor pollutants have decreased across the EEA-32 region between 1990 and 2010; nitrogen oxides (NO X ) by 42%, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) by 53%, carbon monoxide (CO) by 61%, and methane (CH 4 ) by 32%.
This decrease has been achieved mainly as a result of the introduction of catalytic converters for vehicles, which has significantly reduced emissions of NO X and CO from the road transport sector, the main source of ozone precursor emissions.
The EU-27 as a whole has not met its 2010 target to reduce emissions of NO X , one of the two ozone precursors (NO X and NMVOC) for which emission limits exist under the EU's NEC Directive (NECD). Whilst total NMVOC emissions in the EU-27 were below the NECD limit in 2010, a number of individual Member States did not meet their ceilings for one or both of these two pollutants.
Of the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings for 2010 set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), all reported NMVOC emissions in 2010 that were lower than their respective ceilings, however Liechtenstein and Norway reported NO X emissions higher than their ceiling for 2010.
EEA-32 emissions of NH 3 have declined by 28% between the years 1990 and 2010. Agriculture was responsible for 94% of NH 3 emissions in 2010.
The reduction in emissions within the agricultural sector is primarily due to a reduction in livestock numbers (especially cattle) since 1990, changes in the handling and management of organic manures and from the decreased use of nitrogenous fertilisers. The reductions achieved in the agricultural sector have been marginally offset by the increase in annual emissions over this period in the road-transport sector, and to a lesser extent the 'Solvent and product use' and 'Non-road transport' sectors.
All but two of the EU-27 Member States reported 2010 national NH 3 emissions under NECD below the level of the 2010 emission ceilings set in the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD)  . Emissions in 2010 for two of the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings set under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) were also below the level of the respective 2010 ceilings.
Environmental context: NH 3 contributes to acid deposition and eutrophication. The subsequent impacts of acid deposition can be significant, including adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems in rivers and lakes and damage to forests, crops and other vegetation. Eutrophication can lead to severe reductions in water quality with subsequent impacts including decreased biodiversity, changes in species composition and dominance, and toxicity effects. NH 3 also contributes to the formation of secondary particulate aerosols, an important air pollutant due to its adverse impacts on human health.
 Emissions data reported by EU member states under NECD is used for comparison with NECD ceilings, and data reported under CLRTAP is used for all other calculations unless otherwise stated. 2010 emissions reported under NECD in 2012 by 11 member states differed from that reported under CLRTAP.
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 2010. Emissions of SO X have decreased by 75%, NO X by 42% and NH 3 emissions by 28% since 1990 within the EEA-32.
Data reported under the NECD indicates that the EU-27 as a whole has met its overall target to reduce emissions of SO X and NH 3 as specified by the EU’s National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD). However twelve individual Member States, and the EU as a whole, reported emissions in the 2010 above their NECD 2010 emission ceilings for NO X , although the twelve Member States joining the EU in 2004/7 reported combined emissions below their collective NECD ceiling. Three EU-27 member states also reported 2010 NH 3 emissions above the levels of their NECD ceilings, neither of which are in the group of twelve new EU member states.
Of the three non-EU countries having emission ceilings for 2010 under the UNECE/CLRTAP Gothenburg protocol (Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland), both Liechtenstein and Norway reported NO X emissions in 2010 that were substantially higher than their respective 2010 ceilings. Liechtenstein also reported 2010 NH 3 emissions above the level of their Gothenburg protocol 2010 ceiling.
Assessment created 2007 The expected growth in populations and economies in all regions** implies increasing demand for crops and other agricultural products worldwide. If the current trends continue and if the efficiency of fertiliser use is improved*, this increasing demand will lead to a 1 % increase per year in global fertiliser use, from 138 million tonne in 1999 to 188 million in 2030 (37 % increase in total). However, fertiliser use in many developing countries is very inefficient. Best practices for fertiliser handling could significantly reduce the environmental pressures associated with nutrient losses. Even modest increases in fertiliser application could cause problems when yield growth stagnates, leading to inefficient use of nutrients and severe pollution. * Projections are based on the Food and Agriculture Organisation vision concerning food, nutrient and agriculture. The vision takes into account current economic, social and industry trends as well as improved efficiency of fertiliser use. ** The European fertiliser manufacturers association make regular forecasts of fertiliser use in the European Union. These forecasts show a decline of all nutrients for 2012 compared with the base year average (1999-2001) (nitrogen 7 %, phosphorus 13 % and potassium 12 %). It is based on criteria laid down in the current Common Agricultural Policy, but have not taken into account any of the new measures in the European Commission's Mid Term Review which could result in an even bigger decline. Source: Forecast of food, farming and fertilizer use in the European Union, 2002 -2012 , EFMA2012
Mineral fertilizer use is expected to increase considerably in the new Member States, but remains lower than in the EU-15 in absolute terms; this may lead to increases in associated environmental pressures. Best practices for fertilizer handling could significantly reduce the environmental pressures.
Nutrient surpluses are expected to be moderately reduced in 2020. Best practices for fertilizer handling could significantly reduce the environmental pressures which are associated with nutrient balances.
At EU-15 level the gross nitrogen balance in 2000 was calculated to be 55 kg/ha, which is 16% lower than the balance estimate in 1990, which was 66 kg/ha. In 2000 the gross nitrogen balance ranged from 37 kg/ha (Italy) to 226 kg/ha (the Netherlands). All national gross nitrogen balances show a decline in estimates of the gross nitrogen balance (kg/ha) between 1990 and 2000, apart from Ireland (22% increase) and Spain (47% increase). The following Member States showed organic fertiliser application rates greater than the threshold of 170 kg/ha specified by the Nitrates Directive in 2000: the Netherlands (206 kg/ha) and Belgium (204 kg/ha). The general decline in nitrogen balance surpluses is due to a small decrease in nitrogen input rates (-1.0%) and a significant increase in nitrogen output rates (10%).
The share of organic farming is increasing strongly and now stands at about 4 % of agricultural area in the fifteen older EU Member States and the EFTA countries. EU agri-environment programmes and consumer demand have been key factors for this strong increase. The share of organic land remains far below 1 % in most of the ten new Member States and the accession countries.