Greenhouse gas emissions slightly down in 2017

In 2017, greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands were 1 percent lower than in the previous year. Less coal was used in the production of electricity. At the same time, emissions rose due to economic growth. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) together with the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) and Registration of Emissions (ER) on the basis of provisional figures.

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.

Greenhouse gas emissions (bn CO2 equivalents)
 Carbon dioxide (energy companies)Carbon dioxide (other sectors)Other greenhouse gasesTarget as set in Urgenda climate caseTarget as set in Coalition Agreement
19904012358
19954812658
20004812447
20055212637
20105213031
20114812230
20124512029
20134512029
20144910929
20155311230
20165211430
20174911529
2020166
2030113

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.

Carbon dioxide emissions by energy companies, by use of fossil fuels (bn kg)
 TotalCoalNatural gas and other
199039.821.917.9
199140.319.720.7
199240.819.521.3
19934218.923.1
199445.821.724.1
199547.92324.9
199648.521.726.7
199748.620.428.2
199850.321.528.9
199947.217.829.5
200048.419.828.6
20015221.230.8
20025321.431.6
200353.821.831.9
20045521.134
200552.219.732.6
20064819.328.7
200750.620.330.3
20085019.530.5
200949.919.530.3
20105218.433.6
201147.717.330.4
201244.819.924.9
201344.920.924
201448.524.124.4
201553.231.421.8
20165228.423.6
201748.924.324.7

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).

Emission intensity of Dutch economy (CO2 equivalents per 1,000 euros in GDP)
 Total greenhouse gasesCarbon dioxideOther greenhouse gases
1990598451146
1991604463141
1992597456141
1993595454141
1994591453137
1995567437130
1996572443129
1997538416123
1998517402115
199947237795
200045136586
200144236776
200243736473
200343636967
200443136665
200541635463
200639133160
200737932356
200837432549
200938133051
201039334450
201136631947
201236631947
201336431647
201435030546
201535430946
201634930544
201733829742