Mild winter and economic crisis curb greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands were more than 6.5 percent lower in 2011 than in 2010. This was caused by a decrease in energy consumption of nearly 7 percent. Emissions of greenhouse gases were 8 percent below the level of 1990, the base year for the Kyoto Protocol.

Considerable decrease in carbon dioxide emissions

The emission of greenhouse gases in 2011 amounted to 196 billion CO2-equivalents, 14 billion CO2-equivalents (more than 6.5 percent) less than in 2010. The decrease is almost entirely caused by the decrease in the emission of carbon dioxide. As a result of the mild winter, but also of the economic recession at the end of 2011, much less natural gas was consumed. Emissions of other greenhouse gases remained at the same levels.

Emissions of greenhouse gases

Emissions of greenhouse gases

Mild winter and lower manufacturing production

Over half of the decrease in CO2 emissions was caused by the mild winter weather in 2011. Households and offices in particular used much less natural gas for heating. The energy sector produced considerably less electricity. The sector therefore also used less natural gas and emitted more than 8 percent less CO2. Electricity use remained at the same level as a result of an increase in imports.
Manufacturing production fell at the end of 2011. As a result of this, emissions by the manufacturing industry fell by 4 percent. Emissions by road traffic did increase, by just over 1 percent.

Emission of carbon dioxide by sector

Emission of carbon dioxide by sector

Maximum 1,001 billion CO2 equivalents according to Kyoto Protocol

According to the Kyoto Protocol, from 2008 to 2012 the Netherlands will have to have reduced its emission of greenhouse gases by an average 6 percent from the 1990 level. The emission in the base year is set at 213 billion CO2 equivalents. The Netherlands may emit a maximum of 1,001 billion CO2 equivalents in the period concerned. Including the provisional figures for 2011, emissions now stand at 810 billion CO2 equivalents. In 2012, therefore, there is room for a maximum of 191 billion more CO2 equivalents.

Part of the agreed reduction may be realised outside the Netherlands. The Netherlands may buy emission rights from other countries, for example, or finance projects that result in emissions abroad.

Kees Olsthoorn (Statistics Netherlands) and Kees Peek (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment)