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EU to exceed nitrogen oxides emission ceiling, mostly due to road transport

The EU-27 and its Member States must meet legally binding limits for four air pollutants set by the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive) to protect human health and the environment. The annual status report released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that while EU-27 emissions for three air pollutants are projected to meet the ceilings, nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions for the EU-27 as a whole will exceed its ceiling by 17 %. Ten Member States expect to miss their respective NOx ceilings.

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New maps give Europeans close-up picture of air pollution from diffuse sources

New online maps published today by the European Commission and the European Environment Agency, in close cooperation with the Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) of the Joint Research Centre, allow citizens to pinpoint the main diffuse sources of air pollution, such as transport and aviation. The new set of 32 maps shows where certain pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulate matter are released. It complements existing data on emissions from individual industrial plants from the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). The Europe-wide register aims to help Europeans actively engage in decisions affecting the environment.

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Nuclear accident in Japan: where to get up-to-date information

Following the massive earthquake and tsunami of 11 March 2011, a number of explosions and fires took place at the reactor buildings of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Japan declared a state of alert and reported leaks of radioactive material. Given the magnitude and the global dimension of the disaster, Japanese authorities and the international community are following the situation very closely. A series of sources provide the public with up-to-date information on the accident's possible impacts on Europe's environment as well as radiation measurements across Europe.

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Has policy improved Europe's air quality?

In recent decades, the EU has introduced a range of policies to improve air quality by controlling pollutant emissions. A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) evaluates three key instruments and finds that they have significantly improved Europe's air quality and reduced pollution-induced health effects. There is scope for even more progress, however, if countries achieve all their binding commitments to reduce emissions.

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Air pollutant emissions to exceed limits

In 2010, around half of the European Union's Member States expect to surpass one or more of the legal limits set by the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive). The annual status report released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) confirms that 11 countries anticipate an exceedance of their ceilings for NOx — some by more than 40 %.

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Emissions of sulphur oxides and ozone-forming pollutants fall significantly

The European Union air pollutant emission inventory report compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows that the EU-27 has cut sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions by 78 % since 1990. The decline was particularly sharp during the latest reporting year, falling 20 % in 2008 compared to 2007. The emissions of three ozone precursors — CO, NMVOCs and NOx — also continued the downward trend.

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Europe to exceed air pollutant emission limits – NOx in particular

In 2010, around half of the European Union's Member States expect to miss one or more of the legal limits set by the National Emission Ceilings Directive. According to recent data compiled by the European Environment Agency (EEA), 11 countries expect to exceed their ceilings by significant amounts — some missing NOx targets by more than 40 %.

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Volcanic ash is having little impact on Europe's air quality

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is closely following the impacts of recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland, in particular assessing changes in ground-level air pollution. According to preliminary monitoring data, ground-level air quality across Europe has not deteriorated significantly as a result of the volcanic activity.

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Summer ozone: record low concentrations in 2009

Ozone levels in Europe during summer 2009 were among the lowest since comprehensive data reporting started in 1997.

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EEA set to improve data flows for GMES

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has started coordinating data flows from ground, sea and air observations, which will be used for Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) services. Building on existing mechanisms and capacities, EEA will develop an innovative and sustainable framework to make the data accessible.

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Interactive technology empowers Europeans to manage environmental change

As part of their partnership combining cutting-edge technology and environmental data, Microsoft Corp and the European Environment Agency (EEA) have expanded their Eye On Earth portal. A new application, AirWatch provides information on air quality to more than 500 million people across Europe. For the first time, EEA brings together both measured and modelled data alongside citizens' observations on air quality.

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Pollution: new European register gives public access to information on emissions from European industrial facilities

The European Commission and the European Environment Agency today launched a comprehensive new European pollutant release and transfer register – E-PRTR. The register contains information about the quantity and location of pollutants released to air, water and land by industrial facilities throughout Europe. It includes annual data for 91 substances and covers more than 24 000 facilities in 65 economic activities. It also provides additional information, such as the amount and types of waste transferred from facilities to waste handlers both inside and outside each country.

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EU set to miss 2010 air pollutant limits

With 2010 now quickly approaching, updated emission estimates for that year show just 14 Member States expect to meet their respective 2010 air pollutant limits set under the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive). A small group of Member States anticipates missing two or more of their legally-binding emission ceilings.

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Emissions of air pollutants down in EU-27

The European Community's air pollutant emission inventory report released by the European Environment Agency finds that in 2007, sulphur oxides (SOx) emissions were down by 72 % from 1990 levels. The downward emission trend of three main pollutants which cause ground-level ozone continued in 2007: carbon monoxide (CO) fell by 57 %, non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs) were down by 47 % and nitrogen oxides (NOx) have dropped 36 %. EU-27 emissions of all four pollutants were lower in 2007 than in 2006.

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Ozone pollution is declining — but not everywhere

Ground-level ozone is among the most harmful air pollutants in Europe today. Elevated ozone levels cause health problems, premature deaths, reduced agricultural crop yields, damage to plants in semi-natural ecosystems and corrosion of physical infrastructure and cultural heritage.

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How clean is Europe's air?

Particulate matter and ground-level ozone remain important air pollutants in Europe. Despite improvements due to EU legislation, they continue to have a heavy toll on human health especially in southern and eastern Europe. Two reports released today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shed light on Europe’s air quality.

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EU to exceed air pollutant limit due to growth in road transport

Despite significant emission reductions in recent years, only 11 EU Member States expect to remain within their emission limits for all four air pollutants set by the EU National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC Directive). The nitrogen oxides ceiling remains the most difficult to comply with. This is partly due to the fact that demand for road transport has grown faster than anticipated.

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EU-15 on target for Kyoto, despite mixed performances

The EU-15 should meet its collective target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % for the period 2008–2012. Part of this decrease will come from emission reduction projects that EU countries will finance in other countries, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

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Transport remains main source of health-damaging pollutants

A report launched today by the European Environment Agency shows that road transport remains the single main source of nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO) and non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and the second-most important source of fine particulate emissions (PM10 and PM2.5) in the EU-27. This report contains essential data that helps understand the evolution of air pollutant emissions since 1990.

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Greening European transport consumption: change user behaviour and set carbon targets

There must be a clear, ambitious target for cutting CO2 emissions from transport in Europe. Citizen behaviour, together with improved use of technologies, have a major role to play. These are just a few of the messages emerging from the seminar: “Right on track - choosing the most eco-friendly transport option” organised by the International Union of Railways (UIC) today at the European Environment Agency.

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