Pollutants and greenhouse gases concerned

The list of pollutants and greenhouse gases emitted by the agriculture sector in mainland France in 2014,and representing more than 5% of total emissions, according to the SECTEN reporting, estimated by CITEPA are presented in the table below:

Pollutants concerned Environnemental Effet/Impact
NOx, CO, NH3 Acidification, eutrophication, photochemical pollution
CH4, N2O Increase in the greenhouse effect
Cd Contamination by heavy metals
Dioxins/furans (PCDD-F), PAHs*, HCB Contamination by persistent organic pollutants
Total suspended particules (TSP), PM10, PM2.5,
PM1.0, Black carbon (BC) (small amount)
Particulate matter

*sum of 4 PAHs : benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene et indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene 


Main emission sources and trends

The « Agriculture » sector comprises different activities, which fall into three main categories:

  • « Livestock farming » : livestock farming emissions originate from enteric fermentation in livestock and management of animal manure ;
  • « Crop farming » : crop farming emissions originate from the spreading of nitrogenous fertilisers, rice production under anaerobic conditions, tillage, harvesting and burning of crop residues ;
  • « Energy » : energy emissions originate from energy consumption by farm vehicles and in buildings and greenhouses.

Warning: The « Energy » category, mentioned above, is only included in the agriculture sector for the SECTEN reporting. In the inventories prepared in the framework of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), these emissions are not included in the agricultural sector but in the energy sector.

The diagram below shows the sources of air pollutant emissions from agriculture, excluding the energy consumption.

Agric Figure2Source: CITEPA 2012

The full list of sources taken into account for the agriculture sector is available on this website, on the SECTEN page, section « List of sectors and sub-sectors by SECTEN category », by uploading the associated file.

Data on emission trends for the agriculture sector by sub-sectors are available and downloadable on this website, on the SECTEN inventory page, section « Sub-sector contribution by air pollutant and greenhouse gas ».

The SECTEN report (in French only), available free of charge for CITEPA members only for online reading on this website, provides a sector analysis for each pollutant and greenhouse gas to understand the data and the factors influencing the trends observed, including the regulatory framework (read the SECTEN report online via your login and password).

Example : La principale source d’émissions de CH4 est l’élevage (fermentation entérique et déjections animales), le solde correspondant aux émissions des rizières en France métropolitaine.
Entre 1990 et 2014, ces émissions ont légèrement diminué du fait notamment, de la baisse du cheptel des vaches laitières
... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password).



The pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions inventories prepared by CITEPA are produced in an objective and impartial manner.

All the methods used to produce these inventories are explained and detailed in the OMINEA report, published by CITEPA. A database including the activity data and the emission factors applied is also available on this website.

These methods, used for the estimation of both pollutants and greenhouse gases, are internationally acknowleged methods. The methods applied concerning the pollutants are consistent with the EMEP methodology, and concerning the greenhouse gases, with the IPCC methodology.

CITEPA is audited annually by international experts (UNFCCC and UNECE) in order to check that these methods are properly applied.