In 2005, the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere was approximately 2 percent below last year’s level. The total emission over 2005 was evaluated at 214 billion CO2 equivalents, bringing it back to the level of 1990. The decrease was entirely due to a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Reduced emissions of carbon dioxide
Preliminary figures, calculated in compliance with IPCC directives, show that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), the most common of greenhouse gases, emitted in 2005, was measured at 177 billion kg, a reduction by 4 billion kg (2 percent) compared to 2004. Other greenhouse gas emissions remained stable.
Greenhouse gas emissions
More renewable energy
The most remarkable CO2 emission reduction was reported in the energy sector. In electricity production, the emission of CO2 caused by combustion of fossil fuels was reduced by approximately 3 billion kg. The use of natural gas and coal, for example, was cut down by 3 and 7 percent respectively. In spite of the reduction, the amount of electrical energy available remained at the same level due to promotion of renewable energy sources and extra imports of electricity.
The use of renewable energy sources increased by approximately 40 percent in 2005, compared to the previous year; net imports increased by 13 percent.
Carbon dioxide emissions by sector
Biomass instead of fossil fuels
Due to the use of renewable energy sources, such as biomass and wind, emission of nearly 6 billion kg CO2 as a result of combustion of fossil fuels could be avoided in 2005. Combustion of biomass also involves emission of carbon dioxide (over 9 billion kg in 2005), but according to IPCC directives, these emissions are not to be included in the overall nationwide CO2 emission. Due to the use of biomass for production of electrical energy and heating, emission of 4.5 billion kg of carbon dioxide could be avoided. The amount of biomass used to generate electricity increased by nearly 50 percent in 2005, compared to one year previously. This caused a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 1.3 billion kg. Carbon dioxide emissions avoided by using wind energy also increased marginally to 1.2 billion kg.
Carbon dioxide emissions avoided by using renewable energy sources and production of renewable energy
Kees Olsthoorn (Statistics Netherlands), Bas Guis (Statistics Netherlands) and Laurens Brandes (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency)