Aviation and shipping — impacts on Europe's environment TERM 2017

Publication Created 29 Jan 2018 Published 31 Jan 2018
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EEA Report No 22/2017
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Domestic and international aviation and shipping are key components of Europe's mobility system. They are both economic sectors that directly bring many societal and economic benefits, such as the delivery of a wide range of goods and services and provision of employment and mobility for personal leisure or business purposes. However, from the broader environmental perspective, both sectors are also seen as challenging, because increasing demand within each of the sectors is exerting increasing pressures on the environment and climate. Their joint consideration in this TERM 2017 report also reflects key similarities, opportunities and challenges between them.


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Emissions of air pollutants from transport Emissions of air pollutants from transport Between 1990 and 2015, the transport sector significantly reduced emissions of certain air pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) (both by around 85%), sulphur oxides (SO x ) (49 %), nitrogen oxides (NO x ) (41 %). Since, 2000 a reduction in particulate matter emissions (42 % for PM 2.5  and 35 % for PM 10 ) has occurred. Emission reductions from road transport have been lower than originally anticipated over the last two decades. This is partly because transport has grown more than expected and, for certain pollutants, partly owing to the larger than expected growth in diesel vehicles, which produce higher NO x and PM emissions than petrol-fuelled vehicles. Furthermore, it is widely accepted that 'real-world emissions' of NO x , particularly from diesel passenger cars and vans, generally exceed the permitted European emission (Euro) standards, which define the acceptable limits for exhaust emissions of new vehicles sold in the EU Member States. Emissions of all pollutants decreased in 2015 compared with the previous year. NO x  emissions decreased by 1 %, SO x  by 12 %, and PM 10  and PM 2.5  by 4 % and 5 %, respectively. The latest data show that non-exhaust emissions of primary PM 10  and PM 2.5 , such as from tyre- and brake-wear, make up 55 % and 37 % of total transport emissions of these pollutants, respectively.  All transport modes have reduced their emissions since 1990, except for international aviation and shipping for which CO, NO x and  SO x  emissions of each pollutant have increased.

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