Indicator Fact Sheet

Transport emissions of air pollutants (CO, NH3, NOx, NMVOC, PM10, SOx) by mode

Indicator Fact Sheet
Prod-ID: IND-112-en
  Also known as: TERM 003
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Assessment made on  01 Sep 2004

Generic metadata



DPSIR: Pressure


Indicator codes
  • TERM 003

Policy issue:  Meet EU and/or international emission reduction targets for 2010


Key assessment

Acidifying substances

Emission of acidifying substances from transport decreased by 32% between 1990 and 2002 in the EEA32. The introduction of catalytic converters and reduced sulphur in fuels have contributed substantially to this reduction, offsetting the pressure from increased road traffic in the same period. Decreases were larger in the EU15 & EU10 (34% in both), but smaller in CC4 (16%) and EFTA3 (20%). The proportion of emissions emitted from the different country groupings in 2002 was: 76.9% in EU15, 11.3% in EU10, 8.3% in CC4 and 2.0% in EFTA3.

In the transport sector, NOx (87% of total transport-related acidifying emissions in the EEA32) is the most important pollutant contributing to the formation of acidifying substances. Road transport contributed 14% to the total emissions (i.e. from all sectors) of acidifying substances in 2002 for the EEA32 (17.0% EU15, 9.8% EU10, 7.2% CC4 and 15.4% EFTA3).

Substantial further reductions of emissions of acidifying pollutants are needed to reach the 2010 targets of the National Emission Ceilings Directive (Targets: -56% for EU15 and -50% for EU10).

Ozone precursors

Emissions of ozone precursors from transport decreased by 39% between 1990 and 2002 in the EEA32. Reduction occurred because of increased penetration of diesel and of catalytic converters for road vehicles. Decreases were slightly larger in the EU (42%), less in the EU10 (28%), CC4 (15%) and EFTA3 (27%). The proportion of emissions emitted from the different country groupings in 2002 was: 76.5% in EU15, 12.3% in EU10, 9.3% in CC4 and 1.9% in EFTA3.

Emissions of NOx (58%) and of NMVOC (27%) were the most significant pollutants contributing to the formation of tropospheric ozone in 2002 in the EEA32. Road transport is the dominant source of ozone precursors and contributed 35% of total ozone precursor emissions in 2002 in the EEA32 (37% EU 15, 40% EU10, 25% CC4 and 19% EFTA3).

Total ozone precursor emissions are declining in most countries and in the EEA32 as a whole. They decreased by 33% in the EEA32 between 1990 and 2002. Road transport has contributed most strongly to this reduction, as its emissions of ozone precursors decreased by 44% over the same period, emissions from other transport decreased by 12.4%. The contribution of transport as a whole (road and other) to the total dropped from 51% in 1990 to 46% in 2002.

International transport is a further significant source of ozone precursors such as NOx (see Box 2 - Emissions of acidifying substances from international ship traffic). However, this is not included in the EMEP totals reported above.

Emission reductions so far have not led to fewer exceedances of critical levels (ecosystems) or concentration thresholds (human health). Substantial further reductions of emissions of ozone precursor pollutants from all sectors are required to achieve the Gothenburg Protocol and the National Emission Ceilings Directive 2010 targets. Meeting these targets requires a reduction of about 50% of emissions of ozone precursors from 1990 levels by 2010 for the EU 25 (-54% for EU15 and -29% for EU10).

According to recent studies by BMT and Entec UK for the European Commission (European Commission, 2000b and European Commission, 2002), SO2 and NOx from shipping are expected to increase by 2010. This means an associated increase in ozone precursor emissions.

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