Explanation of Key Trends - Nitrogen Oxide

Last updated on 26 Feb 2019 08:27 (cf. Authors)


Within the scope of the LRTAP convention, the Federal Republic of Germany was obliged to reduce emissions to the 1987 level of 3,177kt by 1994. However, this value is inconsistent with the time series data after 1990 because, for example, it does not include any emissions from the agricultural sector. But emissions were successfully reduced by 30% to 2,207 kt in this period, exceeding the obligatory requirements of the protocol and also meeting the additional voluntary commitment that was entered into by Germany and 11 other ECE countries (reduction of NOx emissions before 1998 by 30% compared to 1986 levels).

More recently, Germany has made a commitment under the multicomponent protocol to further minimise NOx emissions. By 2010, it will no longer be permissible to exceed a National Emission Ceiling of 1,081kt NOx for Germany as whole. The revised Gothenburg Protocol and the revised NEC Directive both define emission reduction targets relative to a 2005 base year, mandating 39% (2020) and 65% (2030) reductions respectively.

Further details can be found in Chapter 9 - Projections and Chapter 11 - Adjustments and Emission Ceiling Exceedance.

Main drivers

NOx total emissions show a falling trend from 1990 onwards, with emission reductions of 59,0% between 1990 and 2017 and slightly falling emissions in the last years. The Main Driver for NOx emissions is Fuel Combustion (NFR 1.A) with over 91% of 1990 emissions and a 63% reduction from 1990 to 2017. More than half of the 1990 emissions from Fuel Combustion (NFR 1.A) and a similar reduction (-70%) between 1990 and 2017 comes from Road Transportation (NFR 1.A.3.b), mainly due to constantly improving fuels and increasingly stricter regulations resulting in technical improvements. The rest of the 1990 emissions mainly comes from Energy Industries (NFR 1.A.1) with a 21% share of 1990 Fuel Combustion (NFR 1.A) emissions and a 53% reduction and to a lesser extend from Manufacturing Industries and Construction (NFR 1.A.2) with an 11% share and 70% reduction followed by Other Sectors (NFR 1.A.4) with a share of 7% in 1.A and a 37% reduction between 1990 and 2017. For Manufacturing Industries and Construction (NFR 1.A.2) some emissions were reassigned to the Industrial Processes (NRF 2) starting from the year 2000, leading to lower emissions from the energy sector and a similar rise in the Industrial processes.

NOx Emissions 1990-2017

Total Emissions (kt) Trend: latest compared to
1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 201 1990 last years
2892 2184 1947 1584 1355 1338 1305 1307 1271 1247 1221 1184 down_green.png -59.0% down_green.png

NOx trend by sector

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