Table of Contents

Measuring Environmental Degradation

Measuring Environmental Degradation

Developing Pressure Indicators for Europe

Edited by Anil Markandya and Nick Dale

Measuring Environmental Degradation is a unique book that provides a comprehensive yet concise overview of the key issues of environmental significance addressed as part of the Eurostat ‘Environmental Pressure Indicators Project’. The book is part of the ‘Towards Environmental Pressure Indicators for the EU’ (TEPI) series that has resulted from the project.

Chapter 1: Introduction

A. Markandya and N. Dale

Subjects: environment, environmental sociology


A. Markandya and N. Dale 1. THE AIR POLLUTION POLICY FIELD The Air Pollution policy field covers the gaseous pollutants existing in the atmosphere as a result of human activities. This includes the release of primary pollutants such as sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, which result from the combustion of fossil fuels, industrial processes and agricultural practices, and the formation of secondary pollutants, such as ozone, resulting from the reaction of some primary compounds in the atmosphere. This policy field also includes the issue of acidification, which is the result of emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides reacting in the atmosphere with water, oxygen and oxidants to form acidic compounds, thus causing acidic deposition. The impacts of these various types of air pollution, as explained in the chapters in this part of the volume, include adverse effects on human health, natural ecosystems, agriculture and forestry, and historic buildings. Since current levels of many air pollutants are above accepted national and international standards in most European countries, this policy field is of great relevance to Europe. Within the above definition of the Air Pollution policy field a wide range of pressure indicators was suggested by experts in the first-round questionnaire. For the second-round questionnaire this list was reduced to the 27 that were considered to be most relevant and the indicators were divided into four groups covering emissions, agriculture, energy-related activities and transportation.1 2. RESULTS OF THE SECOND-ROUND QUESTIONNAIRE Figure 1.1 shows the top 15...