In 2017, greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands amounted to 193 billion CO2 equivalents. This is 1 percent lower than in 2016 and 13 percent lower than in 1990. In the Urgenda Climate Case (a court case against the State) of 24 June 2015, the Dutch court ruled that emissions must be reduced by at least 25 percent by 2020 relative to 1990. In the Coalition Agreement of 10 October 2017, the Dutch government set as the target 49 percent reduction relative to 1990 by 2030. By 2020, Dutch greenhouse gas emissions should not exceed 166 billion CO2 equivalents. The limit for 2030 is 113 billion CO2 equivalents. This does not include emissions by international air and maritime transport.
Less CO2 emitted by coal plants
The Netherlands emitted 164 billion kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) in 2017. This is 2 billion kg less than in the previous year. CO2 emissions by energy companies declined from 52 billion kg in 2016 to 49 billion kg in 2017. Electricity production rose by 1 percent, with increased use of natural gas and less use of coal. A slight decline in net imports did not affect the supply of electricity, however. At power stations, the use of coal produced 24 billion kg of CO2 in 2017, which is 4 billion kg less than in 2016, but nevertheless still 7 billion kg more than in 2011. The peak in 2015 coincided with the putting into service of new coal plants and the gradual closure of old coal plants. The five remaining coal plants must be closed by 2030 latest, according to the Coalition Agreement.
Economy growing, emissions declining
In the period 1990–2017, the Dutch economy grew by 73 percent. During the same period, greenhouse gas emissions declined slightly. These also include emissions by international air and maritime transport which are on account of Dutch shipowners and airlines. The drop in emissions during a time of economic growth is mainly related to the halving of other greenhouse gas emissions (methane, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases) as a result of measures implemented by the manufacturing industry and by agriculture as well as at landfills. CO2 emissions remained within limits due to continuous energy savings, increased use of renewable energy and an ever-larger share occupied by the service sector. Since 1990, the emission intensity of the Dutch economy has declined by 34 percent where CO2 is concerned; by 71 percent as regards the other greenhouse gases and by 43 percent overall (all greenhouse gases combined).