European Environment Agency (EEA)

NEC directive status report 2008


Courtesy of Courtesy of European Environment Agency (EEA)

Executive summary

This report presents the most recent information provided under the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD) (1). The directive requires all 27 Member States of the European Union to report information annually concerning emissions and projections for four main air pollutants: sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX), non‑methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs), and ammonia (NH3). These pollutants harm both human health and the environment by contributing to formation of ozone and particulate matter and by causing acidification and eutrophication. To help protect human health and the environment, NECD sets pollutant-specific and legally binding emission ceilings for each of these pollutants and for each country, which must be met by 2010.

A new annex accompanying this year's report contains country-specific profiles, which provide a more detailed comparison of the data reported. The country profiles present parameters such as emissions per GDP, emissions per capita, and
current and projected progress towards the ceiling for each pollutant.

Comparison of projected emissions with the NECD emission ceilings for 2010

For the first time since reporting began under the NECD, all Member States submitted at least some of the emissions and projections data required by the directive in the latest (2008) reporting round (2). Fourteen Member States anticipate they
will meet all four of the pollutant-specific emission ceilings specified in the NECD with the remaining 13 Member States indicating they will miss at least one of their respective ceilings (Table ES.1). In the previous reporting round (2007), only 11 Member States reported that they anticipated meeting their emission ceilings. Following a revision of their projected emissions during the course of 2008, Denmark, Hungary and Italy now also anticipate meeting their emission ceilings for all four pollutants.

As noted in last year's NECD Status report (3), for many Member States the 2010 emission ceiling for NOX remains the most challenging. Twelve Member States now report that they anticipate missing it, based on the reported 'with measures'  projections. Four Member States (France, Poland (4), Portugal and Spain) indicate they will miss their NMVOC ceiling; two Member States (Germany and Spain) expect to miss their NH3 ceiling, and one Member State (the Netherlands) anticipates missing its SO2 ceiling. France and the Netherlands have however both indicated that by implementing additional measures to further reduce NMVOC and SO2 emissions they could still achieve their respective 2010 emissions ceilings for these pollutants.

By 2010 a number of Member States will have successfully reduced emissions of certain pollutants significantly below the levels required by the NECD ceilings i.e. they will have reduced emissions beyond their original commitments for these pollutants. Several Member States have also indicated that their emission projections for 2010 will be recalculated to take into account the effect of the economic contraction in Europe that has occurred since their projections were originally estimated. The effects of the economic contraction are expected to cause lower 2010 emissions across the EU than otherwise would have occurred.

It is noted however, that a large number of Member States (Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom) have reported 'with measures' (WM) projections that are either identical, or very close to, their respective emission ceilings for at least one of the four NECD pollutants. Therefore, even small increases in the level of emissions above their WM projections would lead to these Member States also exceeding their ceilings for these pollutants.

For a small number of the listed Member States, the reported 2007 emissions are already below their respective ceilings and so for these countries meeting their 2010 targets does seem feasible. For the remainder, however, the reported data imply
that they plan often significant emissions reductions in percentage terms between 2007 and 2010 in order to comply with the ceilings.

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