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EEA Releases Preliminary Data on Emissions Ceilings Directive Limits

EEA22 February 2012: The European Environment Agency (EEA) has released preliminary data that shows that 12 countries have exceeded the 2010 emissions limits under the EU National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive, which covers: sulphur dioxide (SO2); nitrogen oxides (NOx); non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs); and ammonia (NH3). NOx and NMVOCs are greenhouse gases (GHGs) contributing to climate change.

The EEA reports that Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden exceeded their NOx ceilings, in part due to the growth of the road transport sector, which contributes approximately 40% of total EU-27 NOx emissions. While others exceeded their NMVOC, NH3, and SO2 limits.

The EEA stresses that the ceilings are designed to prevent air pollution and reduce impacts such as “acidification of soil and surface water, and damage vegetation.” In light of exceedances the EEA said that EU Member States “will need to make further efforts to help reduce air pollution.” [EEA Press Release]