Further reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases

09/08/2007 15:00

In 2006, emissions of greenhouse gases in the Netherlands declined for the second consecutive year. With 208 billion kg of CO2-equivalents, emissions were 3 percent below the level of 1990, the base year of the Kyoto Protocol. This becomes evident from calculations made by Statistics Netherlands and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.

Kyoto Protocol

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the Netherlands must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in the period 2008–2012 by an average 6 percent relative to the base year. Part of the reduction may be realised abroad.

Emissions in the base year are set at 214.3 billion kg CO2 equivalents. With 212 billion kg of CO2 equivalents, the Netherlands − for the first time − failed to meet the Kyoto objective in 2005. This decrease continued in 2006.

Emission of greenhouse gases

Emission of greenhouse gases

Reduction carbon dioxide emissions

The decreases realised in 2005 and 2006 can be largely attributed to a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principle greenhouse gas. Last year, 172 billion kg of CO2 was emitted into the atmosphere, far less than in 2004, when total CO2 emissions amounted to 181 billion kg. But emissions of other greenhouse gases like methane, nitrous oxide and fluorine gases were reduced further.

More imports of electricity

The main reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was realised in the electricity generation process. Although electricity consumption increased in the Netherlands, electricity production declined in 2005 en 2006. This caused a decline in CO2 emissions from 2004 onwards by nearly 5.5 billion kg. To meet the demand for electricity, 22 percent of electricity consumed in the Netherlands was imported from abroad last year.

CO2 emissions were also reduced, because the share of renewable energy in total Dutch energy consumption rose to 2.7 percent in 2006. The relatively mild winters of 2005 and 2006 also contributed to lower emissions, because less natural gas was used for heating purposes.

Carbon dioxide emissions by sector

Carbon dioxide emissions by sector

Traffic emissions continue to rise

In the sector manufacturing industry and energy, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 4 billion kg to 82 billion kg in 2006 relative to 2005. This sector accounts for half of total CO2 emissions. In traffic, on the other hand, CO2 emissions gradually increased in 2006 to reach 40 billion kg, i.e. more than 30 percent up on 1990.

Emissions by two other important sectors, i.e. refineries and consumers, varied in recent years around 12 and 19 billion kg respectively.

Kees Olsthoorn (CBS) and Kees Peek (MNP)