Explanation of Key Trends

Last updated on 16 Oct 2015 06:19 (cf. Authors)

This chapter features tabular and graphical representations of emissions and emission trends for CO, NMVOC, NOx, SO2, NH3, TSP, PM2.5 and PM10. The covered time scale stretches from 1990 to the latest reporting year (the previous but one year) for data and further back for general explanation. Emission are listed as totals here and detailed by NFR source category in the pollutant-specific subsections, these also include summaries of the main drivers for the pollutant in question. The subsections also feature details on the inventory preparation process for the individual pollutants and source categories, including the tier of the methods applied and data characterisation.

Detailed Emission Trends

Nitrogen Oxide (NOx)
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOC)
Ammonia (NH3)
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Total suspended particulate matter (TSP)
Fine Particulate Matter (PM10)
Fine Particulate Matter (PM2.5)
In addition, information and data on emissions of persistent organic pollutants (POP) and heavy metals are also available.

Total emission trends

Between the 1950s and 1970s, air pollution in both parts of Germany was considerably higher than today, mainly due to the "traditional" pollutants sulphur dioxide, airborne particulates and to some extend nitrogen oxides. The reduction in the concentration of pollutants has been forced by regulations that induced technological advancements in stationary combustion plants and vehicles and caused the gradual changeover from solid fuels like coal and lignite to oil and gas, the increased use of low-sulphur heating oil, and, later, the desulphurisation of flue gases in large combustion plants (LCP).

The graph below shows total emission trends for the most important pollutants. The values are displayed as decrease of emission in percent compared to a base year, set to 1995 for PM2.5 and PM10 and 1990 for all other pollutants.

Because of the fact that air pollution is not being kept within national borders, this has been an issue on the European Union's agenda for a long time, resulting in increasingly strict regulations for air quality management, as new knowledge and concepts were taken into consideration. The framework for these regulations is the Council "Framework" Directive 96/62/EC of 27 September 1996 on ambient air quality assessment and management, the objectives and principles of which are set out in concrete terms in so-called daughter directives. The framework directive and the first two daughter directives were adopted in German law through the 22nd Federal Immission Control Ordinance (22nd BImSchV). The third daughter directive was subsequently adopted through the 33rd Federal Immission Control Ordinance (33rd BImSchV), whilst the fourth daughter directive is currently passing through the legislative process.
The limit values specified in the daughter directives are based on the work of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and, in general, are considerably lower than the limits specified in previous regulations.

Where particle emissions are considered, new limit values for fine dust (PM10) have replaced the previous limit values for total suspended particulate matter (TSP).

Another new feature compared to the previous EC directives is that the first daughter directive makes it compulsory to make up-to-date information on ambient air quality and air pollution situation routinely available to the public.

In addition to the air quality directives, the European Commission has also issued Directive 2001/81/EC on national emission ceilings (NEC) for certain atmospheric pollutants, restricting maximum national emission levels for the year 2010. This directive covers sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia (NH3), and volatile organic compounds (VOC), and was adopted into German law through the 33rd BImschV. Recently work is in progress to agree on further reduction commitments until 2020 including also national emission ceilings for all types of particle emissions.

Translating this historic development, these regulations and the figure above into numbers leads to trends visible in the following table. It shows total emission values for the pollutants referred to. All numbers are given in giga-grams, i.e. kilotons.

Pollutant 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
NOx 2886 2643 2495 2389 2201 2168 2097 2032 2008 1984
SO2 5307 3923 3196 2846 2377 1704 1442 1206 971 793
NMVOC 3392 2906 2671 2519 2014 2026 1959 1933 1891 1749
NH3 792 709 694 693 663 678 685 680 687 693
CO 12532 10316 8941 8140 6781 6410 5956 5821 5382 5020
TSP 1932 1143 826 663 546 453 439 450 432 432
PM10 (1995 base year) 313 302 305 292 290
PM2.5 (1995 base year) 191 181 180 170 167
Pollutant 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
NOx 1928 1850 1773 1717 1649 1574 1558 1484 1411 1311
SO2 645 625 562 534 496 472 478 461 462 412
NMVOC 1599 1499 1430 1360 1368 1340 1325 1265 1216 1130
NH3 696 703 688 688 680 668 668 663 669 680
CO 4783 4596 4325 4142 3906 3701 3635 3553 3477 3078
TSP 412 397 385 375 369 356 353 349 341 325
PM10 (1995 base year) 276 268 259 253 248 238 236 233 226 216
PM2.5 (1995 base year) 158 154 148 144 140 133 130 126 121 116
Pollutant 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
NOx 1333 1309 1268 1267
SO2 434 431 417 416
NMVOC 1238 1168 1136 1138
NH3 643 675 655 671
CO 3524 3445 3058 3084
TSP 349 356 346 348
PM10 (1995 base year) 233 234 228 228
PM2.5 (1995 base year) 125 120 114 113

In addition, information and data on emissions of persistent organic pollutants (POP) and heavy metals are also available.

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