What progress is being made towards the targets for reducing the exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone?

Policy Question
Indicator codes: CSI 005
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Key messages

(05 Jul 2010)

  • 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.
  • Ozone (O3)

    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. Concentrations in 2007 were lower than in 2006. The effect-related accumulated concentrations, addressing exposure of crops to ozone over several summer months, shows large year-to-year variations, there is a non-significance tendency to increase.

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