Air emissions - Environment

Air emissions

Eurostat publishes data on 2 types of air emissions:

  • greenhouse gas emissions (causing climate change)
  • air pollutants (harmful to human health and the environment).

To do so, we use the 2 internationally established reporting approaches for air emissions: accounts and inventories.

We also provide estimates of air emissions associated with products consumed in the EU, known as footprints.

The table below (and the expandable headings) provide more information on the reporting methods, the related datasets and their characteristics and uses.

Policy context Air emissions Data sets

EU: Climate action

United Nations convention on climate change (UNFCCC)

Greenhouse gas emissions Greenhouse gas inventories Air emission accounts Air emission footprints

EU: Clean air

Convention on long-range transboundary air pollution (CLRTAP)

Air pollutants CLRTAP inventories
  > classified by technical processes > classified by economic activities > by final products
> used for international monitoring of policies adopted > used for integrated environmental-economic analyses > modeling results that provide further context


Air emissions accounts and footprints

Air emissions accounts record flows of gaseous and particulate materials (7 greenhouse gases including CO2 and 7 air pollutants) emitted into the atmosphere as a result of economic activity.

The accounts are a subset of environmental-economic accounts. They offer a detailed breakdown for 64 emitting industries, plus households, as defined in the national accounts of EU countries.

They are aligned with each country’s economic statistics and GDP. These features make them suitable for integrated environmental-economic analyses and modelling – for example of 'carbon footprints' and climate-change modelling scenarios.

In addition, Eurostat estimates ‘footprints’ – greenhouse emissions linked to final products that are used by households or government, invested in or exported.

Data collection

Eurostat collects the accounts from every EU country annually (see Annex I of Regulation 691/2011).

To see the questionnaire used for this purpose and the method used to compile the data, see Environment - methodology.


These footprints represent what is emitted both in the EU and abroad to produce the final goods and services that are used within the EU.

The data is estimated using input-output- modelling. For methodological guidance and related IT tools, see Environment – methodology.

Air emissions inventories (source EEA)

Every EU country officially reports national data on emissions as follows:

These national inventories provide key input for policies on climate change and air quality. They are also collected by the European Environment Agency, which uses them to compile EU aggregates on behalf of the European Commission.

Differences between inventories & accounts

Inventories Accounts
Emissions are assigned to the country where the emission takes place. Emissions are assigned to the country where the company causing the emission is based (‘resident’).
Emissions are assigned to technical processes (e.g. combustion in power plants, solvent use). Emissions are classified by economic activity (using the NACE classification, as used in the system of national accounts).
Emissions from international shipping and aviation are assigned to the countries where the associated fuel is purchased regardless of where the purchasing company is based. Emissions from international shipping and aviation are assigned to the countries where the airline/shipping company is based, regardless of where the emission takes place.

Linking inventories and accounts with bridging items

National and EU totals differ between the 2 approaches, because they are based on different borders. To overcome this, air emissions accounts reconcile their totals with national inventories through ‘bridging items’.

Eurostat publishes a separate dataset with these bridging items – air emissions accounts totals, bridged to emission inventory totals. This explicitly shows the differences between the national totals derived from the 2 reporting approaches.

Other emissions datasets produced by the EU.

Access to the data via ready made tables (Main tables)

Access to more detailed data (database)