Although NO2 emissions are on the decline, the CREA reports levels above guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation.
Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is commonly released from combustion engine vehicles, amongst other sources. When inhaled, the gas can have harmful impacts on the individual – new research has shown concentrations of NO2 to be exceeding WHO limits in all EU27 and UK capital cities.
In 2020, the road transportation sector was the main source of NO2 emissions, contributing approximately 37%. In urban areas, theses emissions have the largest impact, with additional traffic and dense populations multiplying human exposure to pollutants.
Erika Uusivuori, Europe Analyst at The Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and co-author of the briefing shared, “This week, the European Parliament has approved the 2035 ban on sales of new fossil fuel cars. However, NO2 concentration levels and the resulting health impacts in European cities remain too high,”
“Lawmakers need to find more solutions to reduce transport-related emissions, and other highly emitting sources, such as power generation, need to be addressed immediately, too,” she added.
The capital cities with the lowest levels of NO2 pollution were Tallinn (Estonia) and Stockholm (Sweden), while Athens (Greece) and Bucharest (Romania) were the worst emitters.