Air emissions accounts

What are AEA and what are they for?

Air emissions accounts (AEA) record flows of gaseous and particulate materials (six greenhouse gases including CO2 and seven air pollutants) emitted by the economy into the atmosphere.

AEA are conceptually embedded in environmental-economic accounts. AEA offer a detailed breakdown by 64 emitting industries plus households as defined and classified in national accounts. AEA follow the national accounts' residence principle, which implies that emissions by resident economic units are included even if these occur outside the territory (for example, resident airlines and shipping companies operating in the rest of the world). These two features make AEA in particular suitable for integrated environmental-economic analyses and modelling, for example of 'carbon footprints' and climate-change modelling scenarios, which is their main purpose.

AEA complement the national emission inventories established under the international conventions UNFCCC[1] and CLRTAP[2] which deliver the key policy indicators in the domains of climate change and air. The national emission inventories are collected by the European Environment Agency on behalf of Directorate-General CLIMA and re-published by Eurostat in its online database. They follow the territory principle (i.e. emissions originating from the territory) and provide a breakdown by rather technically delineated emission sources. Notably, as a consequence AEA national totals deviate from the totals as defined in national emission inventories. AEA reconciles totals with national inventories through so-called 'bridging items'.

Data collection and publication

Eurostat undertakes annual data collections which are covered by Regulation (EU) 691/2011 consolidated version (Annex I). The AEA questionnaire as well as compilation guidelines can be found on the Environment – methodology webpage.

Three AEA data sets are available:

  • Air emissions accounts by industry and households (NACE Rev. 2) (env_ac_ainah_r2): this data set reports the emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants broken down by 64 industries (according to NACE Rev. 2) plus households. Complete data starts from reference year 2008.
  • Air emissions accounts totals bridging to emission inventory totals (env_ac_aibrid_r2): this data set reports the differences between AEA national totals and the totals derived from national emission inventories. Complete data starts from reference year 2008.
  • Emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants induced by final use of CPA08 products (input-output analysis) (env_ac_io10): this data set includes model-based estimates of 'carbon footprints' and footprints of other pollutants; only for aggregated EU; data starts from reference year 2008. These footprints represent what is emitted both in the country and abroad to produce the final goods and services that are used within the country. This data set uses so-called input-output-modelling. Eurostat provides related methodological guidance and IT-tools on its Environment – methodology website.