Rising economy, falling greenhouse gas emissions

19/12/2016 15:00
The Dutch economy saw a 64 percent growth rate in the period 1990-2015 while greenhouse gas emissions fell by almost 3 percent. The decrease is due to lower emissions of nitrous oxide, methane and fluorinated gases. CO2 emissions, however, rose by nearly 13 percent, according to Statistics Netherlands.
The Paris Climate Convention follows the emission calculations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). According to these figures greenhouse gas emissions fell by 12 percent. The difference is mainly caused by not including the sharply increasing CO2 emissions of international transport in the calculations.
Developments in greenhouse gas emissions, 1990-2015

Lower greenhouse gas emissions by companies

Greenhouse gas emissions by companies have fallen since 1990, while the economy saw substantial growth. The fall in emissions by companies is mainly due to technological developments and more efficient energy use in manufacturing. Greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture fell by 16 percent, mainly because of a stricter manure policy and more efficient operational management. Electric power plant emissions rose due to the growing demand for electricity. Greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector increased by nearly 62 percent. Emissions by Dutch aviation more than doubled relative to 1990. Emissions by road and water transport also rose, but far less so.
Greenhouse gas emissions by Dutch economic activities

Economic growth leads to higher CO2 emissions

Although total greenhouse gas emissionshave been reduced, CO2 emissions have increased, althoughnot as much as would have been the case without measures to reduce CO2 emissions. In the latter case, emissions by companies would have increased by 35 percent relative to 1995 instead of the current 8 percent. Energy saving by companies in particular cut the growth in CO2 emissions and even led to diminishing CO2 emissions in the chemical industry, agriculture andbasic metal industry. In the transport sector, the gains from improved energy intensity were cancelled out by strong production growth, leading to higher emissions.

No reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by households

Household greenhouse gas emissions were up by more than 2 percent in 2015 on 1990. This was partly due to a 13 percent population increase. The number of dwellings rose, but consumption of natural gas to heat them has decreased as new homes are generally better insulated, which has compensated for the increase in number of dwellings. There was also a 56 percent rise in the number of passenger cars, even though these have become cleaner and more fuel efficient. Per capita greenhouse gas emissions fell by 10 percent.

Smaller Dutch CO2 footprint

The Dutch CO2 footprint << link >> fell by 8 percent between 2010 and 2014. The footprint comprises all CO2 emissions caused by Dutch consumption. Products are imported to meet Dutch consumer demands. CO2 is released in the manufacturing of these products. On the other hand, Dutch companies also cause emissions that are not part of the Dutch footprint because they produce export products. On balance, the Netherlands releases more CO2 for other countries than vice versa, also because the Netherlands exports more than it imports. However, the import products are on balance more emission-intensive than the export products. The Footprint reduction can be attributed entirely to more emission-efficient production by Dutch companies. On the other hand, emissions abroad which are caused by Dutch consumption saw an increase.
Dutch carbon footprint and CO2 emissions by the Dutch economy