CO2 emissions fall while economy rises

15/11/2016 15:00
In the third quarter of 2016, CO2 emissions in the Netherlands were 2.3 percent lower compared to the same quarter one year previously. In the same period, the Dutch economy grew by 2.4 percent, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS). It is the third consecutive quarter in which CO2 emission levels fall while the economy is growing. An important contributor to emissions reduction is the use of more natural gas instead of coal during electricity production at power stations. At the same time, a continued decline is seen in consumption of natural gas for the heating of buildings.

CO2 emissions and economic development, third quarter of 2016

Q3 2016 was warmer than Q3 2015; September in particular was relatively warm. When adjusted for these weather effects, CO2 emissions are 1.0 percent lower than one year previously.

Energy companies emit less CO2

Even though more electricity was generated in the third quarter, CO2 emissions from energy companies, water companies and waste management companies went down by 6 percent year-on-year. Such companies account for approximately 33 percent of total CO2 emissions. The present reduction in CO2 emissions is due to energy companies using less coal and more natural gas in their production process. Less CO2 is emitted during combustion of natural gas compared to the burning of coal. The fuel mix at Dutch power plants has therefore improved from the environmental perspective.

Aviation sector emits more CO2

CO2 emissions in the transport sector rose by around 5 percent in the third quarter. The transport sector accounts for over 19 percent of total emissions. Total value added in the transport sector did not increase at the same rate as its CO2 emissions, however. The rise in emissions was most noticeable in aviation with an increase exceeding 6 percent, largely on account of increased output (over 7 percent).

Agriculture and basic metal industry emit less CO2

The cluster agriculture, mineral extraction, manufacturing and construction released less CO2 than in the same quarter in 2015. This cluster accounts for 25 percent of total emissions. In particular agriculture and the basic metal industry reduced CO2 emissions. In the basic metal industry, this reduction was due to lower output. The chemical industry, on the other hand, emitted more CO2 due to higher output.

Lower CO2 emissions by other services and households

Other services, accounting for approximately 8 percent of total CO2 emissions, reduced their emissions by over 6 percent. This was mainly due to lower consumption of natural gas for heating of office buildings. Households, responsible for 15 percent of total emissions, showed slightly lower emission levels in the third quarter of 2016. Here as well, the lower gas consumption for heating was the main reason. On the other hand, households emitted more by higher fuel consumption for personal transportation.

 CO2 emissions have been calculated according to the definitions of the Environmental accounts. These figures are a first estimate.