Chapter 9 - Projections

Last updated on 30 Mar 2020 06:43 (cf. Authors)


In May 2019, Germany published its first National Air Pollution Control Programme under the revised NEC directive 2016/2284/EU. It covers all up-to-date information on projected air pollution emissions and mitigation approaches in great detail. In addition, Germany also published the same results under the CLRTAP using the Annex IV projected emissions templates, presenting both the "with measures" (WM) and the "with additional measures" (WAM) scenarios as defined in the NAPCP 2019 linked to above. Emission projections under the CLRTAP are therefore fully aligned with the reporting presented in the context of the NEC directive.

Compared to the latest submission 2020 these results can be summarized as follows:

kt NOx SO2 NMVOC NH3 PM2.5
National Total 2005 1,522 477 1,183 641 141
National Total 2010 1,358 405 1,057 641 123
National Total 2015 1,233 336 831 684 106
National Total 2018 1,084 289 816 636 97
Reduction Commitment 2020 [%] -39 -21 -13 -5 -26
Reduction Commitment 2020 [kt] 929 377 1,029 609 104
Projected Emissions 2020 WM 882 301 803 614 91
Projected Emissions 2020 WAM 830 265 800 613 89
Reduction Commitment 2030 [%] -65 -58 -28 -29 -43
Reduction Commitment 2030 [kt] 533 200 852 455 80
Projected Emissions 2030 WM 603 231 785 570 80
Projected Emissions 2030 WAM 506 161 776 436 75

Notes: This table does not include adjustments or NOx, NMVOC emissions from agriculture. Projected emissions are based on submission 2018, historic data from submission 2020.


Decent data on historic emissions are key to the political process and to decisions on abatement technology promotion. However, future emission paths also do have the power to shed a new light on these discussions. The main idea behind emission projections is not so much about exact numbers, but about the comparison of scenarios. Scenarios are made up by a distinct number of actions and measures, translated into future values for activity rates and emission factors. The questions answered by emission projection is therefore not "How many kilo-tonnes of sulphur oxide will be emitted in 2030 exactly?" but "How does scenario X/provision Y compare to the reference emission path? Does it significantly help our goal to further reduce emissions?"
The German projections system has seen two major overhauls: in 2010 and then again in 2018. A new emission projection database (called "emission scenarios") has been created. Multiple scenarios are taken into account, sketching development of activity data and emission factors up to 2035 and in some cases even to 2050. The new system features integrated assessment for both greenhouse gases (GHG) and air pollutants. In particular, existing projections for GHG can be applied to air pollution contexts. The databases used also allow for the flexible combination of distinct scenarios for specific sectors and source categories to add up to a complete inventory. Today, the projection database is fully operational and used as the common basis for reporting on emission projections under all reporting obligations.


For the past few years, climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been an important issue in society and politics. GHG emission inventories have seen a lot of attention as a consequence. However, there have been also a couple of air pollution related headlines, including "diesel gate", particulate matter emissions in cities and nitrogen problems in ground water reservoirs. In Germany, these discussions have led to a number of legislative projects and new regulations which have the power to significantly change emission levels. Thus, projections generally show further decline in emissions, even for ammonia where there has not been much progress historically. The main policy drivers are listed and contextualized below:

  • Energy
    • Phase out of coal use for energy production until 2038 with significant reductions before 2030
    • Recent high ETS prices and low natural gas prices cause shift in the energy market, abandoning coal even faster
    • Increased production of renewable energy
    • New regulations with stricter limit values for some installation types
  • Transport
    • New vehicle regulations, including updated Euro norms
    • More electric vehicles, more public transport
  • Agriculture
    • New "D√ľngeverordnung" (fertiliser ordinance) as well as other legislative and incentive measure to reduce fertiliser use and lower animal numbers

Not all of the policies listed above are fully modelled yet, we expect to include new projections as part of our 2021 submissions. First results show a rather sharp decline in emissions for 2019, which - given the looming recession in 2020 - are likely to continue. As a result, Germany anticipates meeting its 2020 reduction commitments in full, even for ammonia. It is, however, unclear how much of the 2019/2020 development will be permanent or if the emissions are bound to increase again in 2021.


For its national emission projections, Germany draws on both climate projections activity data and category-specific reports on air pollution emission factor development in the future. For all sectors, emission scenarios were developed in the greatest possible consistency with the energy and greenhouse gas emission scenarios of the "Projection Report of the Federal Government". The two policy scenarios used in this report are the Current Policy Scenario (WM), which reflects energy and climate measures that have already been decided, and the Energiewende scenario (WFMS), which assumes additional climate protection measures (e.g. a coal phase out).

Starting from these activity data sets as a basis, future emission factors for air pollutants where modelled for each of the policies and measures individually. For each measure, the relevant emissions factors were identified and the existing historic time series in the database was extended to 2020, 2025, 2030 and 2035. Then, the future activity data for those years was multiplied with the modelled emission factors to derive projected emissions. This approach allows for detailed calculations of per-measure mitigations. Measures where then bundled per sectors and modelled again for combination in the two scenarios presented here. This last step is necessary to address inter-measure dependencies, which disallow the simple summation of effects from multiple measures in the same sector.

The results as presented below have been widely circulated and discussed, both in public and with the government offices concerned with air pollution.


Modelling different scenarios in our database, we arrive at the following results for Germany's 2030 emissions:

Reduction commitment [% reduction vs. 2005] -65 -58 -28 -29 -43
With measures [kt] 603 231 785 570 80
With measures [% reduction vs. 2005] -59 -51 -30 -9 -41
Climate protection measures -25 -27 -2 -2
Coal phase out -32 -35 -1 -1 -2
MCP directive implementation -31
Regulation for solid fuel boilers -1
Road transport package -7 -6
Agriculture package -133
Low-sulphur fuels in industry -8
Additional regulation for non-coal large combustion -2
With additional measures [kt] 506 161 776 436 75
With additional measures [% reduction vs. 2005] -65 -66 -31 -30 -44

With these numbers, Germany will meet its reduction commitments for 2030. Please refer to the National Air Pollution Control Programme for a detailed description of all measures modelled.

Next section: 13.1 Point Sources

2. Umweltbundesamt, 2017: Projection Report of the Federal Government (
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