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Determined to implement the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution,

Concerned that present emissions of air pollutants are causing damage, in exposed parts of Europe and North America, to natural resources of vital environmental and economic importance,

Recalling that the Executive Body for the Convention recognized at its second session the need to reduce effectively the total annual emissions of nitrogen oxides from stationary and mobile sources or their transboundary fluxes by 1995, and the need on the part of other States that had already made progress in reducing these emissions to maintain and review their emission standards for nitrogen oxides,

Taking into consideration existing scientific and technical data on emissions, atmospheric movements and effects on the environment of nitrogen oxides and their secondary products, as well as on control technologies,

Conscious that the adverse environmental effects of emissions of nitrogen oxides vary among countries,

Determined to take effective action to control and reduce national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes by, in particular, the application of appropriate national emission standards to new mobile and major new stationary sources and the retrofitting of existing major stationary sources,

Recognizing that scientific and technical knowledge of these matters is developing and that it will be necessary to take such developments into account when reviewing the operation of this Protocol and deciding on further action,

Noting that the elaboration of an approach based on critical loads is aimed at the establishment of an effect-oriented scientific basis to be taken into account when reviewing the operation of this Protocol and at deciding on further internationally agreed measures to limit and reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes,

Recognizing that the expeditious consideration of procedures to create more favourable conditions for exchange of technology will contribute to the effective reduction of emissions of nitrogen oxides in the region of the Commission,

Acknowledging the measures already taken by some countries which have had the effect of reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides,

Have agreed as follows:

For the purposes of the present Protocol,

1. "Convention'' means the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, adopted in Geneva on 13 November 1979;

2. "EMEP'' means the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe;

3. "Executive Body'' means the Executive Body for the Convention constituted under article 10, paragraph 1, of the Convention;

4. "Geographical scope of EMEP" means the area defined in article 1, paragraph 4, of the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP), adopted at Geneva on 28 September 1984;

5. "Parties'' means, unless the context otherwise requires, the Parties to the present Protocol;

6. "Commission'' means the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe;

7. "Critical load'' means a quantitative estimate of the exposure to one or more pollutants below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge;

8. "Major existing stationary source'' means any existing stationary source the thermal input of which is at least 100 MW;

9. "Major new stationary source'' means any new stationary source the thermal input of which is at least 50 MW;

10. "Major source category'' means any category of sources which emit or may emit air pollutants in the form of nitrogen oxides, including the categories described in the Technical Annex, and which contribute at least 10 per cent of the total national emissions of nitrogen oxides on an annual basis as measured or calculated in the first calendar year after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, and every fourth year thereafter;

11. "New stationary source'' means any stationary source the construction or substantial modification of which is commenced after the expiration of two years from the date of entry into force of this Protocol;

12. "New mobile source'' means a motor vehicle or other mobile source which is manufactured after the expiration of two years from the date of entry into force of the present Protocol.

1. The Parties shall, as soon as possible and as a first step, take effective measures to control and/or reduce their national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes so that these, at the latest by 31 December 1994, do not exceed their national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides or transboundary fluxes of such emissions for the calendar year 1987 or any previous year to be specified upon signature of, or accession to, the Protocol, provided that in addition, with respect to any Party specifying such a previous year, its national average annual transboundary fluxes or national average annual emissions of nitrogen oxides for the period from 1 January 1987 to 1 January 1996 do not exceed its transboundary fluxes or national emissions for the calendar year 1987.

2. Furthermore, the Parties shall in particular, and no later than two years after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol:

(a) Apply national emissions standards to major new stationary sources and/or source categories, and to substantially modified stationary sources in major source categories, based on the best available technologies which are economically feasible, taking into consideration the Technical Annex;

(b) Apply national emission standards to new mobile sources in all major source categories based on the best available technologies which are economically feasible, taking into consideration the Technical Annex and the relevant decisions taken within the framework of the Inland Transport Committee of the Commission; and

(c) Introduce pollution control measures for major existing stationary sources, taking into consideration the Technical Annex and the characteristics of the plant, its age and its rate of utilization and the need to avoid undue operational disruption.

3. (a)The Parties shall, as a second step, commence negotiations, no later than six months after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, on further steps to reduce national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides or transboundary fluxes of such emissions, taking into account the best available scientific and technological developments,internationally accepted critical loads and other elements resulting from the work programme undertaken under article 6;

(b) To this end, the Parties shall cooperate in order to establish:

(i) Critical loads;

(ii) Reductions in national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides or transboundary fluxes of such emissions as required to achieve agreed objectives based on critical loads; and

(iii) Measures and a timetable commencing no later than 1 January 1996 for achieving such reductions.

4. Parties may take more stringent measures than those required by the present article.

1. The Parties shall, consistent with their national laws, regulations and practices, facilitate the exchange of technology to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides, particularly through the promotion of:

(a) Commercial exchange of available technology;

(b) Direct industrial contacts and cooperation, including joint ventures;

(c) Exchange of information and experience; and

(d) Provision of technical assistance.

2. In promoting the activities specified in subparagraphs (a) to (d) above, the Parties shall create favourable conditions by facilitating contacts and cooperation among appropriate organizations and individuals in the private and public sectors that are capable of providing technology, design and engineering services, equipment or finance.

3. The Parties shall, no later than six months after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, commence consideration of procedures to create more favourable conditions for the exchange of technology to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides.

The Parties shall, as soon as possible and no later than two years after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol, make unleaded fuel sufficiently available, in particular cases as a minimum along main international transit routes, to facilitate the circulation of vehicles equipped with catalytic converters.

1. The Parties shall regularly review the present Protocol, taking into account the best available scientific substantiation and technological development.

2. The first review shall take place no later than one year after the date of entry into force of the present Protocol.

The Parties shall give high priority to research and monitoring related to the development and application of an approach based on critical loads to determine, on a scientific basis, necessary reductions in emissions of nitrogen oxides. The Parties shall, in particular, through national research programmes, in the work plan of the Executive Body and through other cooperative programmes within the framework of the Convention, seek to:

(a) Identify and quantify effects of emissions of nitrogen oxides on humans, plant and animal life, waters, soils and materials, taking into account the impact on these of nitrogen oxides from sources other than atmospheric deposition;

(b) Determine the geographical distribution of sensitive areas;

(c) Develop measurements and model calculations including harmonized methodologies for the calculation of emissions, to quantify the long-range transport of nitrogen oxides and related pollutants;

(d) Improve estimates of the performance and costs of technologies for control of emissions of nitrogen oxides and record the development of improved and new technologies; and

(e) Develop, in the context of an approach based on critical loads, methods to integrate scientific, technical and economic data in order to determine appropriate control strategies.

The Parties shall develop without undue delay national programmes, policies and strategies to implement the obligations under the present Protocol that shall serve as a means of controlling and reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides or their transboundary fluxes.

1. The Parties shall exchange information by notifying the Executive Body of the national programmes, policies and strategies that they develop in accordance with article 7 and by reporting to it annually on progress achieved under, and any changes to, those programmes, policies and strategies, and in particular on:

(a) The levels of national annual emissions of nitrogen oxides and the basis upon which they have been calculated;

(b) Progress in applying national emission standards required under article 2, subparagraphs 2 (a) and 2 (b), and the national emission standards applied or to be applied, and the sources and/or source categories concerned;

(c) Progress in introducing the pollution control measures required under article 2, subparagraph 2 (c), the sources concerned and the measures introduced or to be introduced;

(d) Progress in making unleaded fuel available;

(e) Measures taken to facilitate the exchange of technology; and

(f) Progress in establishing critical loads

2. Such information shall, as far as possible, be submitted in accordance with a uniform reporting framework.

EMEP shall, utilizing appropriate models and in good time before the annual meetings of the Executive Body, provide to the Executive Body calculations of nitrogen budgets and also of transboundary fluxes and deposition of nitrogen oxides within the geographical scope of EMEP. In areas outside the geographical scope of EMEP, models appropriate to the particular circumstances of Parties to the Convention therein shall be used.

The Technical Annex to the present Protocol is recommendatory in character. It shall form an integral part of the Protocol.

1. Any Party may propose amendments to the present Protocol.

2. Proposed amendments shall be submitted in writing to the Executive Secretary of the Commission who shall communicate them to all Parties. The Executive Body shall discuss the proposed amendments at its next annual meeting provided that these proposals have been circulated by the Executive Secretary to the Parties at least ninety days in advance.

3. Amendments to the Protocol, other than amendments to its Technical Annex, shall be adopted by consensus of the Parties present at a meeting of the Executive Body, and shall enter into force for the Parties which have accepted them on the ninetieth day after the date on which two-thirds of the Parties have deposited their instruments of acceptance thereof. Amendments shall enter into force for any Party which has accepted them after two-thirds of the Parties have deposited their instruments of acceptance of the amendment, on the ninetieth day after the date on which that Party deposited its instrument of acceptance of the amendments.

4. Amendments to the Technical Annex shall be adopted by consensus of the Parties present at a meeting of the Executive Body and shall become effective thirty days after the date on which they have been communicated in accordance with paragraph 5 below.

5. Amendments under paragraphs 3 and 4 above shall, as soon as possible after their adoption, be communicated by the Executive Secretary to all Parties.

If a dispute arises between two or more Parties as to the interpretation or application of the present Protocol, they shall seek a solution by negotiation or by any other method of dispute settlement acceptable to the parties to the dispute.

1. The present Protocol shall be open for signature at Sofia from 1 November 1988 until 4 November 1988 inclusive, then at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York until 5 May 1989, by the member States of the Commission as well as States having consultative status with the Commission, pursuant to paragraph 8 of Economic and Social Council resolution 36 (IV) of 28 March 1947, and by regional economic integration organizations, constituted by sovereign States members of the Commission, which have competence in respect of the negotiation, conclusion and application of international agreements in matters covered by the Protocol, provided that the States and organizations concerned are Parties to the Convention.

2. In matters within their competence, such regional economic integration organizations shall, on their own behalf, exercise the rights and fulfil the responsibilities which the present Protocol attributes to their member States. In such cases, the member States of these organizations shall not be entitled to exercise such rights individually.

1. The present Protocol shall be subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by Signatories.

2. The present Protocol shall be open for accession as from 6 May 1989 by the States and organizations referred to in article 13, paragraph 1.

3. A State or organization which accedes to the present Protocol after 31 December 1993 may implement articles 2 and 4 no later than 31 December 1995.

4. The instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who will perform the functions of depositary.

1. The present Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date on which the sixteenth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession has been deposited.

2. For each State and organization referred to in article 13, paragraph 1, which ratifies, accepts or approves the present Protocol or accedes thereto after the deposit of the sixteenth instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession, the Protocol shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit by such Party of its instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval, or accession.

At any time after five years from the date on which the present Protocol has come into force with respect to a Party, that Party may withdraw from it by giving written notification to the depositary. Any such withdrawal shall take effect on the ninetieth day following the date of its receipt by the depositary, or on such later date as may be specified in the notification of the withdrawal.

The original of the present Protocol, of which the English, French and Russian texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized thereto, have signed the present Protocol.

DONE at Sofia this thirty-first day of October one thousand nine hundred and eighty-eight.

I. CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES FOR NO x EMISSIONS FROM STATIONARY SOURCES

II. CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES FOR NO x EMISSIONS FROM MOBILE SOURCES

1. The purpose of this annex is to provide guidance to the Parties to the Convention in identifying NOx control options and techniques in the implementation of their obligations under the Protocol.

2. It is based on information on options and techniques for NOx emission reduction and their performance and costs contained in official documentation of the Executive Body and its subsidiary bodies; and in documentation of the ECE Inland Transport Committee and its subsidiary bodies; and on supplementary information provided by governmentally designated experts.

3. The annex addresses the control of NOx emissions considered as the sum of nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2 ) expressed as NO2 and lists a number of NOx reduction measures and techniques spanning a wide range of costs and efficiencies. Unless otherwise indicated these techniques are considered to be well established on the basis of substantial operating experience, which in most cases has been gained over five years or more. It cannot, however, be considered as an exhaustive statement of control options; its aim is to provide guidance to Parties in identifying best available technologies which are economically feasible as a basis for national emission standards and in the introduction of pollution control measures.

4. The choice of pollution control measures for any particular case will depend on a number of factors, including the relevant legislative and regulatory provisions, primary energy pattern, industrial infrastructure and economic circumstances of the Party concerned and, in the case of stationary sources, the specific circumstances of the plant. It should be borne in mind also that sources of NOx are often sources of other pollutants as well, such as sulphur oxides (SOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulates. In the design of control options for such sources, all polluting emissions should be considered together in order to maximize the overall abatement effect and minimize the impact of the source on the environment.

5. The annex reflects the state of knowledge and experience of NOx control measures, including retrofitting, which has been achieved by 1992, in the case of stationary sources, and by 1994 in the case of mobile sources. As this knowledge and this experience continuously expand, particularly with new vehicles incorporating low-emission technology and the development of alternative fuels, as well as with retrofitting and other strategies for existing vehicles, the annex needs to be updated and amended regularly.

I. CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES FOR NOx EMISSIONS FROM STATIONARY SOURCES

6. Fossil fuel combustion is the main source of anthropogenic NOx emissions from stationary sources. In addition, some non-combustion processes may contribute considerably to the emissions. The major stationary source categories of NOx emissions, based on EMEP/CORINAIR 90, include:

(a) Public power, cogeneration and district heating plants:

(i) Boilers;

(ii) Stationary combustion turbines and internal combustion engines;

(b) Commercial, institutional and residential combustion plants:

(i) Commercial boilers;

(ii) Domestic heaters;

(c) Industrial combustion plants and processes with combustion:

(i) Boilers and process heaters (no direct contact between flue gas and products);

(ii) Processes (direct contact); (e.g. calcination processes in rotary kilns, production of cement, lime, etc., glass production, metallurgical operation, pulp production);

(d) Non-combustion processes, e.g. nitric acid production;

(e) Extraction, processing and distribution of fossil fuels;

(f) Waste treatment and disposal, e.g. incineration of municipal and industrial waste.

7. For the ECE region, combustion processes (categories (a), (b), (c)), account for 85 per cent of NOx emissions from stationary sources. Non-combustion processes, e.g. production processes, account for 12 per cent, and extraction, processing and distribution of fossil fuels for 3 per cent of total NOx emissions. Although in many ECE countries, power plants in category (a) are the largest stationary contributor to NOx emissions, road traffic is usually the largest single overall source of NOx emissions, but the distribution does vary between Parties to the Convention. Furthermore, industrial sources should be kept in mind.

GENERAL OPTIONS FOR REDUCING NOx EMISSIONS FROM COMBUSTION

(a) Energy management measures:1/

(i) Energy saving;

(ii) Energy mix;

(b) Technical options:

(i) Fuel switching/cleaning;

(ii) Other combustion technologies;

(iii) Process and combustion modifications;

(iv) Flue gas treatment.

9. To achieve the most efficient NOx reduction programme, beyond the measures listed in (a), a combination of technical options identified in (b) should be considered. Furthermore, the combination of combustion modification and flue gas treatment needs site specific evaluation.

10. In some cases, options for reducing NOx emissions may also result in the reduction of emissions of CO2 and SO2 and other pollutants.

Energy saving

11. The rational use of energy (improved energy efficiency/process operation, cogeneration and/or demand-side management) usually results in a reduction in NOx emissions.

Energy mix

  • Last updated: 31 Mar 2016