Emission scenarios

As a first attempt to gain insight into the possible implications for global anthropogenic emissions of mercury to the atmosphere two scenarios has been investigated. The first assumes that (additional) actions are taken; the second where there is not taken (additional) actions to control emissions. Emission projections for the year 2020 based on three emissions scenarios were presented in the UNEP-Chemicals Branch. These scenarios suggest that, if current trends in industrial development and resource use were to continue, mercury emissions in key selected sectors (those where mercury is an incidental pollutant and also the chlor-alkali industry) are likely to rise about 25% by 2020. However, if emission controls currently in place or planned in Europe were to be extended worldwide, mercury emissions from these sectors could drop by about 50% by 2020. Under a scenario of maximum technologically feasible reduction measures, emissions could drop by about 60% by 2020. It is a need for verification on the existing emission scenario estimates, as well as further improvements of assumptions made for different shifts in energy resources exploitation, industrial production and use of mercury.

Within GMOS, scenarios of global emissions until the year 2030 has been made using the following scenario descriptions:

  • The ‘Status Quo’ (SQ) scenario assumes that current patterns, practices and uses that result in mercury emissions to air will continue. Economic activity is assumed to increase, in various regions; however, emission control practices remain unchanged from those currently employed, leading to increased emissions in several sectors.
  • The ‘Extended Emissions Control’ (EXEC) scenario assumes economic progress at a rate reflecting the future development of industrial technologies and emissions control technologies; that is, mercury-reducing technologies currently generally employed throughout Europe and North America would be implemented elsewhere. It further assumes that emissions control measures currently committed to in Europe to reduce mercury emissions to air or water would be implemented throughout the world. These include certain measures adopted under the LRTAP Convention Heavy Metals Protocol, EU Directives, and also agreements to meet IPCC Kyoto targets on reduction of greenhouse gases causing climate change (which will also result in reductions in mercury emissions).
  • The ‘Maximum Feasible Technological Reduction’ (MFTR) scenario assumes implementation of all available solutions/measures, leading to the maximum degree of reduction of mercury emissions and mercury discharges to any environment; cost is taken into account but only as a secondary consideration.