Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG)
Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and the hydrogen fluorocarbons are the three major gases with global warming potential (GWP) listed in the Kyoto Protocol that are emitted by the chemical industry in Europe. Carbon dioxide with a GWP of 1 is released primarily from the burning of fossil fuels as energy sources. Also taken into account are the carbon dioxide emissions associated with purchased electricity consumption. 23 national associations (four more than last year) reported a total of 189.9m tonnes of CO2 emissions for 2008. 13 organizations reported a total of 24.5m tonnes of nitrous oxides (in CO2 equivalents) and seven provided data on HFCs (0.8m tonnes in CO2 equivalents).
Sulphur dioxide (SO2)
Sulphur dioxide contributes to atmospheric acidification, the main contributors being combustion plants and refineries. For 2008, our matched sample of 21 countries shows a reduction of 4.3% since 2007 and a total reduction of 22.2% since 2003, the baseline year.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx)
NOx gases contribute to atmospheric acidification and have the potential to contribute to photochemical ozone creation. Our matched sample of 21 countries shows a significant reduction of 9.4% since 2007 and a total reduction of 26.1% since 2003, the baseline year.
Non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOCs)
NMVOCs reflect the potential for photochemical ozone creation that is implicated in respiratory problems and ecological damage to plants. The matched sample (22 countries) for 2008 shows a slight increase of 2.7% since 2007 but an improvement of 33.5% since 2003.