Nature and the environment

Emissions to air of hazardous substances and particulate matter1990-2016


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Emissions to air of hazardous substances and particulate matter
Topic: Nature and the environment

Responsible division

Division for Energy and Environmental Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

The national emission model includes four dimensions:

Pollutants: The different gases/substances covered by the emission model

Technical emission sources: Stoves, ships, vehicles, flares, biological and industrial processes

Industry: Standard Industrial Classification (in Europe, called NACE)

Commodity: Different energy commodities; solid fuels (for example coal and coke), liquid fuels (diesel oil, petrol, kerosene, heavy oil etc.), gases (natural gas, landfill gas etc.), biofuel (for instance fuel wood, wood waste, pellets) and waste (hazardous waste and other waste). 

Heavy metals:

Lead (Pb)

Cadmium (Cd)

Mercury (Hg)

Cupper (Cu)

Chromium (Cr)

Other chemical elements:

Arsenic (As) 

Particulate matter:

TSP (Total Suspended Particles)

PM 10 (particles measuring less than 10 μm in diameter)

PM 2.5 (particles measuring less than 2.5 μm in diameter) 

POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants):

PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons)


Standard classifications

Published tables:

Emission by source

Emission by industry (NACE)

NAMEA (NACE according to Quarterly National Accounts)

Tables used in reports to UNECE/Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollutants.

Administrative information

Regional level

National figures.

Frequency and timeliness

Annually in December year n, detailed national figures for year n-1 distributed by source are published. Revised figures for all the years back to 1990 are also published. The whole time series is recalculated annually as new information become available.

International reporting

Annual reports to ECE (Economic Commission for Europe): Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP).


Not relevant.


Background and purpose

The purpose of the statistics is to present the total emissions from Norwegian territory, distributed by sources, industries, energy goods and counties. The statistics also show the goal achievement with regard to the fulfilment of international environmental obligations and national emission targets. In addition, the statistics give information to media, schools, other institutions or organizations, and the general public.

The first emission inventory was made in 1983, containing emissions of SO2 and NOX. After year 2000, emissions of heavy metals and POPs and particulate matter were also included. All the calculations have been revised since the first time. The national emissions have time series going back to 1990. All figures have been revised from the first calculations.

The statistics are to a great extent developed in order to cover the demands in the reporting to the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. The Norwegian Environment Agency, on behalf of the Ministry of Climate and Environment, is responsible for this reporting. These emission figures cover only Norwegian territory, including domestic air and sea traffic. For fishing and road traffic, all emissions originating from fuel sales in Norway are defined as Norwegian emissions.

The statistics can also present figures on emissions from Norwegian economic activity, as defined in the national accounts. These figures include Norwegian international transport (air and sea), and are used in the environmental accounts (NAMEA) and reporting to Eurostat. As the delimitation is different, the emission figures for Norwegian territory and Norwegian economic activity will also differ.

The emission statistics are mainly based on calculations. The emission model is continuously being developed, as research on emissions to air regularly is evaluated. New emission factors are taken into use, errors in the calculations are discovered and corrected, and other improvements in the emission model are implemented. These changes lead to new, revised and more consistent time series each year, and results that are published earlier are not longer valid.

The regular compilation of the statistics is financed by Statistics Norway, but development, improvements and special demands are to a great extent financed by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

Users and applications

The emission inventory and its basic statistics are mainly used for five different purposes:

1. International reporting

2. As a tool for public administration and the authorities

3. Research and education/teaching

4. Market, resource and environmental mapping

5. General information

International reporting is an important use of the official statistics. Figures from the emission inventory are being used by the Ministry of Climate and Environment and the Norwegian Environment Agency in reports to CLRTAP. These figures state whether Norway has reached its targets or not. Also Eurostat, OECD and others are given access to the figures.

The emission inventory is used by the authorities in environmental information documents, such as Regjeringens miljøvernpolitikk og rikets miljøtilstand (The Government's environmental policy and the state of the environment in Norway), which is published every second year, and also in different SDIs: Sustainable Development Indicators.

Statistics Norway also makes use of the emission inventory, both in order to make forecasts/prognoses and as a basis for economic analyses. The project NOREEA (Norwegian Economic and Environmetal Accounts) including NAMEA (National Accounts Matrix including Environmental Accounts) shows the connection between economic and environmental development.

Different public and private institutions use the statistics in studies connected to emission technology, pollution, health and economy.

The emission inventory is an important source of information for newspapers, other news media, environmental organisations and other non-governmental organisations.

Equal treatment of users

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 8 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Coherence with other statistics

The statistics are produced in a flexible model format which gives the opportunity to adjust to different national and international standards for emission data (e.g. sector grouping). Important international standards include Nomenclature for Reporting (NFR) for reporting to the LRTAP convention. At the same time, the statistics form a basis for analyses, both in Statistics Norway and other institutions.

Legal authority

Not relevant. (No particular data collection.)

EEA reference

Not relevant.



The statistics include emissions from Norwegian territory and present emission surveys for a number of different pollutants:

Heavy metals and POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants): PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons), dioxins, mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), copper (Cu), arsene (As) and chromium (Cr).

Other pollutants: Particulate matter (TSP, PM 10 and PM 2.5 ).

The emission figures are furthermore distributed between emission sources (e.g. manufacturing, households, agriculture) and by industry (e.g. metal production, construction).

Data sources and sampling

A detailed description of the data sources for the national air emission surveys is presented in Informative Inventory Report, IIR (2017). National emissions to air are mainly estimated from existing statistics on activity level and emission factors (emission per unit activity). Emissions from large industrial plants are based on data from the plants' own reports to the Norwegian Environment Agency. No particular measurements or other kinds of special data collection take place in connection with the preparation of national emission statistics.

See Collection of data, revisions and estimations.

Collection of data, editing and estimations

Statistics Norway does only to a small extent collect data specifically for the emission inventory. The goal for data collection for the emissions inventory is that these statistics shall be based on already existing registers and statistics. However, it may be necessary to make some adjustments for this special purpose.

Data reported directly to the Norwegian Environment Agency (emission data from point sources, data from large industrial plants) are quality checked by the Norwegian Environment Agency. In addition, a consistency check is done by Statistics Norway. Statistics Norway is responsible for quality control of the activity data and emission figures from the model. No particular controls are performed on data from Statistics Norway's own primary statistics used in the emission calculations, as it is presupposed that the data already have been quality controlled.

The controls used in connection with the emission calculations can be divided into two parts:

1. Quality control and editing of input data, for example information about emissions per industrial plant from the Norwegian Environment Agency.

2. Quality control and editing of the emission figures (output from the model).

1. Quality control and editing of input data

The possibility to check the input data varies, depending on the collection methods and who collects the data. The controls will mainly be:

*To compare data with figures reported from the same unit earlier

*To collect missing data

*To contact industrial plants regarding obvious errors or by asking questions about the reported figures

*Lack of data in time series can be interpolated or filled in by use of estimates. The primary statistics in SSB are submitted to fixed quality control and editing routines. There is no additional control of primary data.

2. Quality control and editing of the emission figures (output from the model)

The national figures must be controlled source by source, by comparing with figures from previous years or figures for the same year calculated one year ago. Breaks in the series must be explained.

For comparisons between different calculations for the same year, the target is that all changes should be explained as change in data or method. For comparisons between different years, the target is to explain all large changes in the time series.

In the revised version of the model, the main part of the quality control will be to check the input data.

Every third year, there is an international examination (review) of the emission inventory. The examination is a centralised review performed by a group of experts. The Norwegian emission inventory was reviewed in 2013.

The emission inventory is mainly based on calculations. Only a few industrial plants continuously measure their emissions. Some plants have periodic measurements that are scaled up to annual levels. For other plants and other sources than manufacturing industries, the emission figures are calculations, often of the type:

Emission = Activity data * emission factor

Activity data can be for example tonnes of fuel oil used by an industry, while the emission factor expresses the emission of a component in proportion to the activity (for example tonnes of SO 2 /tonne fuel oil). The emission factors are usually based on measured values, national or international.

The estimation methods are described in detail in Informative Inventory Report, IIR (2017).

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


The general rule for publication is that data cannot be released unless they contain information from at least three or more participants (i.e. industrial enterprises etc). This rule can be waived if permission from the parties involved is granted. Such data can be published if they are already made available for the public elsewhere.

Comparability over time and space

One of the main goals with the emission inventories is to follow the development in the emissions over a period of time. In order to make this possible, recalculations are done for all years to obtain consistent time series when new factors or better methods are taken into account.

International definitions, in addition to guidelines to calculation and reporting of emission data lead to comparable emission inventories in the different countries.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

The emission figures are based on many different data sources. These sources may contain data from different registers or data reported from industrial plants. The model uses factors from various analyses. The results from the model will therefore reflect the uncertainties in the source material and the calculation methods that are used.

The statistics are based both on administrative sources, complete surveys and sample surveys. Calculation of sample variance, skewness or non-response for the emission figures is not relevant.

The statistics are based both on administrative sources, complete surveys and sample surveys. Calculation of sample variance, skewness or non-response for the emission figures is not relevant.


At the same time as emission figures for a new year are published in December each year, data back to 1990 are also revised if new information about emission factors, activity data or calculation methodology is available.