Twenty-five years of continuous sulphur dioxide emission reduction in Europe

Vestreng, V.; Myre, G.; Fagerli, H.; Reis, S.; Tarrason, L.. 2007 Twenty-five years of continuous sulphur dioxide emission reduction in Europe. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 7 (12). 3663-3681.

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During the last twenty-five years European emission data have been compiled and reported under the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP) as part of the work under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP). This paper presents emission trends of SO2 reported to EMEP and validated within the programme for the period 1980-2004. European sulphur emissions have been steadily decreasing over the last twenty-five years, amounting from about 55 Tg SO2 in 1980 to 15 Tg SO2 in 2004. The relative contribution of the European emissions to total global sulphur emissions has been halved during this period. Based on annual emission reports from European countries, three emission reduction regimes have been identified. The period 1980-1989 is characterized by low annual emission reductions (below 5% reduction per year and 20% for the whole period) and is dominated by emission reductions in Western Europe. The period 1990-1999 is characterised by high annual emission reductions (up to 11% reduction per year and 54% for the whole period), most pronounced in Eastern Europe. The annual emission reductions in the period 2000-2004 are medium to low and reflect the unified Europe, with equally large reductions in both East and West. The sulphur emission reduction has been largest in the Combustion in energy and transformation industries sector, but substantial decreases are also seen in the Non-industrial combustion plants together with Industrial Combustion and – Industrial Production Processes sectors. The majority of European countries have reduced their emissions by more than 60% between 1990 and 2004, and one quarter have already achieved sulphur emission reductions higher than 80%. At European level, the total sulphur target for 2010 set in the Gothenburg Protocol (16 Tg) has apparently already been met by 2004. However, still half of the Parties to the Gothenburg Protocol have to reduce further their sulphur emissions in order to attain their individual country total emission targets for 2010. It is also noteworthy that, contrasting the Gothenburg Protocol requirements, an increasing number of countries have recently been reporting increased sulphur emissions, while others report only minor decreases. The uncertainty in sulphur emission estimates is low, and although they are at the same level as recent reductions, the emission trends presented here are supported by different studies of air concentrations and depositions carried out within and outside the framework of the LTRAP Convention.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biogeochemistry > BG01 Measuring and modelling trace gas, aerosol and carbon > BG01.1 UK nitrogen and sulphur compounds
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Billett (to November 2013)
ISSN: 1680-7316
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access Journal. Follow Official URL for access to full-text
Additional Keywords: emissions, inventories, sulphur dioxide
NORA Subject Terms: Atmospheric Sciences
Date made live: 03 Mar 2008 16:09 +0 (UTC)

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