First comparative EU green accounts published

Eurostat survey of air pollution satellite accounts marks advance for integration policies

A first comparative survey of green accounts for air pollution produced by EU countries and Norway marks a "major" step forward for the development of satellite environmental accounting, according to the European statistical office, Eurostat.

The Eurostat survey brings together air accounts from 12 countries, all based on a framework known as national accounts matrix including environmental accounts, or namea. Compiled in line with conventional economic accounts, namea enables levels of pollution produced by different economic sectors to be measured, for these levels to be related to economic output or employment levels, and for changes to be tracked over time. The development of satellite environmental accounts will provide a valuable tool for measuring progress in integrating environment into sectoral policies, according to Eurostat.

Most of the national accounts include emissions data for at least the eight air pollutants covered by the EU's Corinair monitoring system (CO2, SO2, Nox, CO, NH3, N2O, CH4 and non-methane VOCs). Some also include data on dust, CFCs, SF6, halons, and Swedish data also covers a range of heavy metals.

The accounts show for each country how much a particular economic sector contributes to emission of these pollutants, broken down not only into households and industry sectors, but also into different industry sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail trade and transport. Emissions for any or all of these sectors can be related to their employment levels, "value added" or GDP.

Due to different economic structures in different countries, emission intensities vary widely, the report shows. For instance, the electricity, gas and water supply industries contribute to around 2% of employment and 3-5% of GDP in all of the countries surveyed. In France and the UK, however, the sectors account respectively for 4% and 54% of total carbon dioxide emissions, reflecting differing electricity generation structures in the two countries.

A Eurostat official told ENDS Daily that the next step in the namea process would be to include more up-to-date data from more countries and to extend namea accounting to a wider range of environmental areas such as water use and sewage generation. Air pollution accounts were the easiest to generate due to the existence of the Corinair database of emissions for the whole of Europe, he said.

Follow Up:
Eurostat, tel: +352 430 111. References: "Pilot Studies on NAMEAs for Air Emissions with a Comparison at European Level".

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