1. Executive Summary

Last updated on 04 Dec 2014 08:38 (cf. Authors)

This Informative Inventory Report (IIR) contains information on Germany's air pollution inventories mainly from 1990 and partly from pollutant-specific base years up to two years prior to the current year (i.e. in 2014 we will report on emissions until 2012). The inventory data are reported under the Geneva Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE/CLRTAP). The report includes descriptions of methods, data sources, and carried out QA/QC activities as well as a comprehensive trend analysis. The report follows the requirements of the 2008 adopted guidelines for estimating and reporting of emission data (ECE/EB.AIR/2008/4). The emission data presented in this report were compiled according to forementioned guidelines.

Air pollution trends in Germany

Air pollution in Germany declined in recent years. As the figure below illustrates, emissions decreased significantly for all pollutants monitored in the time from 1990 onwards. Especially in the 1990s big improvements have been achieved due to the reorganisation of the former East German economy after the reunification and the measures applied to German industry. One basic reason is the fuel switch in the former eastern part of Germany, i.e. the replacement of the use of lignite by use of gaseous and liquid fuels.
A decrease of emissions is seen for all pollutants, though progress varies. Sulphur dioxide and TSP (total suspended particles), for example, saw a rapid decline in the early 1990s while the decrease of other pollutant's emissions developed more or less linear. Values for particulate matter are measured and calculated since 1995 and reveal a slow though steady improvement.

Nevertheless, the above figure also illustrates the fact that for certain pollutants (namely ammonia, sulphur dioxide, and total suspended particles) only moderate progress can be observed since 2000. This particularly holds true for the development of ammonia, where recent years saw steady or even increasing emissions.
For heavy metal and POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants) emissions the picture is less clear. The release of these substances generally declined, some trends appear to be less favourable. Generally, data completeness and inventory compatibility remains an issue for these pollutants. For the three priority heavy metals cadmium, mercury, and lead, however, very significant reductions have been achieved in the 1990s (see figure below).

All trends are analysed and explained in detail in the emission trend chapter.

Structure of this report

This report does not provide a comprehensive discussion on air pollution or the measures and politics dealing with it. This type of information is included in the published national programs for further emission reductions, e.g. under the NEC directive or the trend and projection reports for green-house gases. Instead, it provides a detailed insight on the process of air pollution and emission inventory preparation. The focus lies on the methods and assumptions used for the German emission reporting. The report is intended to underpin the "technical" review of the emission data as reported under the CLRTAP convention and its protocol.

The outline of this report follows the recommendations of the CLRTAP emission reporting guidelines.

Major improvements compared to last submission

As this report is incrementally improved and extended, main differences are listed here for the specific submissions. They should be read as lists of improvements over their corresponding predecessor.

Submission 2013

Important changes in regard to the 2013 submission include:

  • Updated emission factors for CO in stationary combustion plants
  • Alignment of emission factors (mainly CO, NH3) to the latest literature in transport
  • Revised emissions from agriculture for NH3

For full details, refer to the chapter on recalculations.


In respect to major air pollutants the German inventory is considered to be almost complete. A few minor source are still missing (see below). On the opposite particularly in respect to heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants there are still missing bits and pieces in the German air pollution inventory.

Known issues for lacking information on pollutants and/or source categories include:

  • Heavy metal and POP emission of some categories

Completeness of the German inventory can also be assessed by referring to the data submission. All cells marked "NE" (not estimated) in the matrix do indicate somehow missing information. More over, the data submission contains data sheets for "Additional Information" featuring explanations on these notation keys and the ratio behind their usage.

Priorities for further improvement

For a detailed look on all improvements planned for the next and for upcoming submission please refer to section 11.2. Most notably Germany will seek to improve the completeness of the report, in particular regarding heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants. More over, we will continue to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date IIR.

Next section: 2. Introduction

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