Category: National governments, Emission inventories

Review of inventories submitted under the National Emission Ceilings Directive

Aether has been involved in reviewing national emission inventories for more than 20 years, and provides several staff for key roles in the NEC Directive reviews.

The Challenge

"Air pollution is causing damage to human health and ecosystems. Large parts of the population do not live in a healthy environment, according to current standards. To get on to a sustainable path, Europe will have to be ambitious and go beyond current legislation" (Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director).

Whilst there are many different air pollutants, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone are recognised as the pollutants that currently have the most significant impacts on human health and ecosystems. Air pollution can be transported across large distances, meaning that the effects can range from local to European and even up to the hemispheric scale. As a result, tackling air pollution issues requires joined-up approaches across countries.

Within the EU there are several approaches being taken to control emissions of air pollutants. Long-term objectives are in place to reduce the exposure to air pollution and improve air quality. The EU’s NEC Directive establishes emission reduction commitments for each Member State. To demonstrate progress towards their commitments they are required to report their historical emissions and adopt National Air Pollution Control Plans (NAPCPs). To ensure that their emission estimates are accurate, they are subject to a detailed technical review each year.

The Solution

The annual reviews of the emissions data submitted by Member States involve technical experts checking the quality of the estimates and in particular the accuracy. The reviews are designed to be constructive and to support Member States in making improvements to their emission estimates. The outcome of the reviews is primarily to provide recommendations to Member State technical experts on how priority improvements can be undertaken. Any more serious quality issues found result in improvements being undertaken during the course of the review.

Aether staff have been involved in reviewing national emission inventories for more than 20 years, and we regularly provide several staff for key roles in the NEC Directive reviews. As well as providing technical experts, Aether plays a leading role in  the process of the review. This includes project planning and management, the development of review processes and tools, carrying out technical checks on the inventory data, leading on quality checking, and creating the review reports for Member States.

In recent years, the annual reviews have been of fundamental importance in driving improvements in the quality of the national emission estimates and ensuring that all Member States are working towards a submission that meets defined quality standards.

The Result

Emission inventories are a fundamentally important tool for policy formation. They indicate the current priorities in terms of pollutant emissions and are the basis for making estimates of how emissions will change in future years. They are also used by Member States to formally demonstrate compliance with their commitments under the NEC Directive. It is important that the quality of the emission estimates is understood, and that the estimates are demonstrated to be of sufficient quality. Aether will be involved with the reviews for 2020 to 2023, helping to improve the quality of Member State submissions.

It is only with sufficiently reliable emission inventories that Member States and the European Commission can undertake the formation of new air quality policies and review the progress of existing policies.

See all case studies

Chris Dore

Director

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Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research

“I must congratulate each of you for your professional and tireless efforts. Let me point out that this has been the 'neatest' in-country review expert review team I have coordinated, and it has been a real pleasure.”

UNFCCC Secretariat

“Chris was excellent to work with and always very pro active in making suggestions, taking work forward and applying his considerable technical knowledge in effective ways.”

Robert Vaughan, Defra Air Quality Team

“It is always an absolute pleasure working with Aether. I always know what is expected of me. Their work ethic is of a very high standard and projects are always handled in a very professional manner. I have learnt many skills in terms of project management, quality control and workshop training styles from Aether and I hope to carry these principles forward in my own work. I look forward to collaborating with Aether more in the future.”

Luanne Stevens, Gondwana

“Aether's approach to couple innovative visualisation with high expertise manpower delivered valuable insights for our inventory work.”

Umweltbundesamt (Germany)

“A heartfelt thank you to all the Aether team for this very comprehensive review – this is certainly turning out to be one of the most beneficial capacity building projects I have ever been involved in.”

Saviour Vassallo, Senior Environment Protection Officer, Malta Resources Authority

“The Aether team were a joy to work with and I would recommend the consultancy - the service provided throughout the process was exceptional.”

Clare Bayley, Defra

“The team at Aether works very professionally and communicates very well which makes working with them a pleasure. Outputs are delivered on time to high quality. The team brings the rigour of technical knowledge and expertise and finds innovative ways of communicating complex messages. I would be happy to recommend the Aether team to organisations working on analysing and presenting emissions information in the public domain.”

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