< Acide equivalent - Aeq Nitrogen monoxide and dioxide - NOx >

Associated topic: acidification

Emissions monitoring period: since 1960

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017


Source of the pollutant

The great majority of sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions are due to the use of fossil fuels containing sulphur (coal, lignite, petroleum coke, heavy fuel oil, domestic heating oil, diesel, etc.). Emissions concern all users of these types of fuel. Some industrial processes also emit sulphur oxides or SOx (production of H2SO4, paper pulp production, petroleum refining, etc.). Even the natural environment releases sulphurous substances, during volcanic eruptions for example.


Effect of the pollutant

SO2 causes bronchial inflammations with spasms that affect breathing.


Classification of the sub-sectors with the highest emission levels* in 2015

Classification Sub-sectors Share of sub-sector in total national emissions in mainland France
1 Petroleum refining 20%
2 Ferrous metals production 12%
3 Non-metallic minerals, building materials 11%
4 Chemical industry 10%
5 Electricity production 9.6%
6 Residential sector 9.5%
7 Tertiary sector 7.7%

*: one sector (of six altogether: energy transformation, manufacturing industry, residential/tertiary, agriculture/forestry, road and other transport) is broken down into sub-sectors.


Emissions and trends

Minimum observed: 153 kt in 2015
Maximum observed: 3 632 kt in 1973
Emissions in 2015: 153 kt
Trends 2015/1980: -95.2%
Trends 2015/1990: -88.4%
Trends 2015/maximum: -95.8%
Trends 2015/minimum: 0%

Measurement unit: kt (kilotonne)
N.B.: emissions include those from combustion and from processes.
Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017


Graph SO2 17

Graph Legende sans UTCFv2

Source CITEPA / SECTEN format – April 2017

Tab SO2 17

(*) Following UNECE/NEC definitions : emissions classified "except total" are not included, i.e. emissions from international maritime, emissions from domestic and international air transport cruise (≥ 1000 m), emissions from agriculture and forestry biogenic sources and emissions from non-anthropogenic sources.
(e) preliminary estimate 



Since 1960, SO2 emissions fell in all sectors as a result of a lower consumption of fossil fuels with the implementation of the national nuclear power development programme and,... (to read more, consult the SECTEN report online via your login and password)

Data source: CITEPA / SECTEN format - April 2017