Greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent higher in 2015

Last year greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands were 5 percent up from 2014. To produce electricity, power stations used more coal and less natural gas in 2015. Additionally, more natural gas was used to heat houses and office buildings. Greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 12 percent relative to 1990, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) says.
Greenhouse gas missions
Greenhouse gas missions
 Carbon dioxide (built-up area)Carbon dioxide (energy companies)Carbon dioxide (other)Other greenhouse gasesCarbon dioxide (road traffic)
19902940685927
19913341715827
19923141715928
19933342686029
19943150666029
19953248645929
19963849676030
19973249656030
19983150655931
19992947645132
20002948644831
20013152634332
20023053624132
20033154633833
20043055633834
20052952633734
20062948623635
20072651633534
20082950633134
20092950603133
20103352643133
20112648633034
20122845612932
20132945602931
20142249582929
20152553602929

Rise in greenhouse gas emissions in 2015

Greenhouse gas emissions totalled 196 billion kg of CO2 equivalents in 2015, i.e. a 5 percent increase from 2014 and a 12 percent decrease from 1990. In the Urgenda climate case of 24 June 2015, the court ruled that the Dutch government has a legal obligation to cut its emissions by at least 25 percent compared with 1990 levels.

CO2 emissions 2 percent above 1990 level

Last year 167 bn kg of carbon dioxide (CO2), nearly 9 bn kg more than in 2014 were emitted into the atmosphere, a rise by 2 percent relative to 1990. Only in 2014, when temperatures were exceptionally high, CO2 emissions were below the level recorded in 1990. In total, other (i.e. non-CO2) greenhouse gas emissions were cut by half in 2015 compared to 1990.

Electricity production by energy source
Electricity production by energy source
 Natural gasCoalRenewableOther
200058.2263.312.5
200157.826.53.512.2
20025826.24.211.6
200357.226.4412.4
200459.223.95.211.7
200557.822.97.411.9
200657.723.48.210.7
200757.923.47.211.5
200859.720.88.810.7
200960.320.69.59.6
201062.318.59.59.7
201160.118.410.910.6
201252.723.612.211.5
201353.624.312.110
201449.327.811.311.6
20154235.312.410.3

More coal, less natural gas for electricity generation

The amount of CO2 emitted by power stations rose by more than 4 bn kg (9 percent) in 2015 relative to the previous year and by 8 bn kg (18 percent) relative to 2013. Since that year, several new coal-fired power plants have been put into operation. Coal is a relatively cheap source of energy, but, compared to natural gas, coal produces more CO2 and pollutants. During the past half decade, the share of natural gas in electricity generation has been reduced by one-third, from 62 percent in 2010 to 42 percent in 2015. The share of coal has almost doubled over the same period, from 19 to 35 percent.

Final energy consumption natural gas
Final energy consumption natural gas
 HouseholdsIndustry Agriculture Services
1995402488
1996471538
1997395479
1998376474
1999357453
2000356450
2001379446
2002365431
2003374436
2004358453
2005344434
2006347400
2007310372
2008351367
2009349354
2010407403
2011316346
2012338364
2013359365
2014268327
2015296347

More natural gas for heating

In 2015, more natural gas was used to heat houses and offices than in 2014. Total CO2 emissions in built-up areas show a slightly downward trend with sudden ups and downs in warm and cold years. Natural gas consumption was marginally higher in the warm year 2015 than 2014, a year with exceptionally high temperatures; 2013 was colder, although not as cold as 1996 and 2010.

Other greenhouse gas emissions
Other greenhouse gas emissions
 MethaneLaughing gasFluorine-contaning gases
199032.917.68.5
199133.317.87.1
199232.9188.2
199332.618.38.9
199431.517.810.7
199530.717.710.1
199629.917.712.4
19972917.413.3
199827.816.814
199926.516.28
200025.315.66.9
200124.314.73.9
200222.813.94.8
200321.713.72.6
20042114.22.4
200520.414.12.2
200620142.4
20072012.32.6
200820.18.62.6
200919.98.32.6
20102083
201119.57.92.6
201219.27.72.6
201319.27.72.5
201418.87.82.5
201518.982.6

Emissions other greenhouse gases reduced by half

Over the past eight years, total emissions of other greenhouse gases, like methane and laughing gas, amounted to 30 bn kg of CO2 equivalents on an annual basis. In 1990 and the following eight years, this amount doubled. The reduction by 50 percent was realised in the period 1999-2008. Apart from lower methane and laughing gas emissions in the agricultural sector, methane emissions from waste dump sites have also been reduced gradually over the past 25 years. Laughing gas emissions have fallen by one-third since 2006, when measures were taken to reduce emissions produced by nitric acid plants. Emissions of fluorinated gases increased in the 1990s and subsequently decreased significantly from 1998 onwards.

Emission intensity Dutch economy (average over five-year period)
Emission intensity Dutch economy (average over five-year period)
 Total greenhouse gasesCarbon dioxideOther greenhouse gases
1990602458144
1991601457144
1992599456143
1993593453139
1994586450137
1995574441133
1996558430128
1997533414119
1998509400110
199948438599
200046437589
200144936980
200244036674
200343336469
200442335766
200541034862
200639834058
200738833355
200838433153
200937932950
201037632849
201137432648
201236832047
201336131447
201435931346
201535731046

Downward trend emission intensity between 1990 and 2015

Economic growth in the Netherlands over the past 25 years was 60 percent, while CO2 emissions rose only slightly, partly due to energy-saving measures and the growing share of the services sector. The emission intensity of the Dutch economy was reduced by 30 percent for CO2, by 70 percent for other greenhouse gases and by 40 percent for greenhouse gases in total.

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