Achieving NEC targets will cost less

New data suggests a larger decline in PM2.5 emissions than previously expected. Photo: © L.Bouvier -

Achieving the Commission’s health protection target for 2030 will be a third cheaper than previously estimated, according to new data.

After a series of bilateral consultations with member states’ experts last year, providing updated information on national air pollutant emissions and projections, the Commission’s consultant, IIASA, re-analysed scenarios for future emissions of air pollutants and found that the health protection target set out by the Commission for 2030 can be achieved at one-third less cost, from €3.3 billion to €2.2 billion.

The reason is that the new data shows that fewer new emission abatement measures will be needed to meet the EU’s 2030 air pollution targets than expected when the EU’s clean air package was proposed in 2013.

For example, the new data suggests a larger decline in emissions of primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5) than previously expected. The revised baseline scenario for PM2.5 now leads to a 32 per cent reduction from 2005 to 2030, instead of the 27 per cent decline that was estimated before. This, in turn, softens the emission reduction requirements for other air pollutants and results in reduced overall costs.

For the purpose of targeting reductions in health damage from PM2.5 exposure, air pollutant emissions are converted into PM equivalents. The new figures show that about half of the PM equivalent emission reductions that emerge as cost-effective in 2030 were already achieved in 2012.

In 2030, current emission control legislation and projected activity changes in the baseline scenario are expected to achieve almost 90 per cent of the required sulphur dioxide (SO2) reductions, and more than 95 per cent of the nitrogen oxides (NOx) reductions.

Implementation of new EU legislation including the new directive on medium combustion plants and the revised directive on non-road mobile machinery, would result in additional reductions beyond what is expected to be delivered by current legislation that would largely fill the remaining gap towards the required reductions in SO2 and NOx.

For PM2.5, current legislation is expected to deliver 60 per cent of the required emission reduction in 2030, and new or revised EU legislation would further deliver a large  part of the additional reductions required.

With respect to ammonia (NH3) and volatile organic compounds (VOC), current emission control legislation and projected activity changes resulting from the revised baseline would deliver about 30 per cent of the needed reduction in NH3 and 85 per cent of the reduction in VOCs.

A recent study by the same consultants for the European Parliament (see AN 4/14, page 18–19) found that implementation of the EU’s new 2030 climate and energy targets would lead to even bigger cost reductions for the proposed NEC directive, but those findings were not accounted for in the new analysis.

Christer Ågren

The report: Adjusted historic emission data, projections, and optimized emission reduction targets for 2030 – A comparison with COM data 2013 (January 2015). TSAP Report 16A, Version 1.1. Report to the European Commission by IIASA.



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