Evolution of NOx emissions in Europe with focus on road transport control measures

Vestreng, V.; Ntziachristos, L.; Semb, A.; Reis, S.; Isaksen, I. S. A.; Tarrason, L.. 2008 Evolution of NOx emissions in Europe with focus on road transport control measures. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 8 (3). 10697-10747.

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European nitrogen oxides emissions have declined more than 30% since 1990, but are now increasing in eastern recovering economies. Road transport is the dominating source of NOx emissions since 1970, and with a 40% share in 2005. This paper presents the effect of NOx abatement on road traffic emissions in Europe and focuses on the causes behind trends since 1880 and up to present. Trends in road traffic NOx emissions are influenced both by policy and technological constrains and socio-economic development. Five trend regimes are identified in Europe. The first regime (1880-1950) is determined by a slow increase in fuel consumption. The second regime from 1950-1980 is characterized by a continued steep upward trend in liquid fuel use, but the changes with respect to the previous period are determined by the introduction of the first regulations on road traffic emissions. Reduction in fuel consumption influences the emission trends in the third regime from 1980 -1990. During this period, road emissions in Eastern Europe decrease due to recessive fuel consumption. Emissions from road traffic continue to grow in Western Europe from 1980 to 1990 despite the general decline and stabilisation in fuel consumption caused by the oil crisis in the 1970s. It is argued here that the reason for this continued Western European NOx emission increase is the introduction of measures to improve combustion and fuel efficiency, and to control HC and CO. The fourth regime (1990-2000) involves a turning point for road traffic emissions, with general decrease of emissions in Europe during that decade. In Eastern Europe, decrease in emissions is linked to decline in fuel consumption in Former Soviet Republics, and to a reduced share of high NOx emitting vehicles in other eastern European countries. At the same time, the efficiency of technological abatement in Western Europe is instrumental to control road traffic emissions in this region despite the increase in fuel consumption. In the last regime, from 2000 to 2005, the economic recovery in Eastern Europe implies new increases in road traffic emissions in this area. However, emissions in Western Europe continue to decrease, despite the increase in fuel consumption, due to the implementation of strict measures to control NOx emissions. The results indicate that even though the effectiveness of European standards is hampered by a slow vehicle turnover, loopholes in the type-approval testing and an increase in diesel consumption, the effect of such technical abatement measures is still traceable in the evolution of European road traffic emissions over the last 15 years.

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: 1680-7367
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access Journal
Additional Keywords: nitrogen, emission inventory
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Atmospheric Sciences
Related URLs:
Date made live: 22 May 2008 15:40 +0 (UTC)

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