Slight drop in greenhouse gas emissions

In 2018, greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands were 2 percent lower than one year previously. This is related to less coal being used for electricity production. The emission intensity of the Dutch economy is declining. 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.

Greenhouse gas emissons (bn CO2 equivalents)
JaartalCarbon dioxide (other sectors)Carbon dioxide (energy companies)Carbon dioxide (manufacturing)Other greenhouse gases2020 target: 166 bn CO2 equivalents
199072.0039.8051.5058.40166
199177.7040.3053.7057.60166
199276.3040.8054.4058.50166
199379.5042.0050.1059.10166
199476.1045.8050.2059.40166
199578.9047.9046.9058.00166
199686.6048.5048.0059.60166
199779.9048.6047.4058.60166
199879.3050.3047.4058.00166
199978.1047.2046.3050.10166
200078.1048.4045.9047.40166
200180.1052.0045.5042.90166
200279.0053.0044.8041.50166
200380.6053.8045.9038.70166
200481.3055.0045.6038.50166
200580.2052.2045.5036.80166
200680.5048.0044.7036.50166
200776.8050.6045.6035.10166
200880.8050.0045.1031.60166
200979.5049.9041.2031.20166
201086.5052.0044.1031.20166
201178.2047.7043.7030.10166
201278.5044.8043.0029.50166
201379.0044.9042.3029.20166
201468.8048.5041.9028.50166
201570.9053.2042.8029.10166
201671.3052.0043.5029.00166
201771.7048.4044.8028.80166
201871.8045.3044.1028.30166
Source: CBS, RIVM/Emissieregistratie

In 2018, greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands amounted to 189.5 billion CO2 equivalents, which is 4.2 billion CO2 equivalents (2 percent) less than in the previous year. The bulk of this reduction (75 percent) is related to lower CO2 emissions by energy companies. The remaining part can be attributed to a reduced cattle herd (lower methane emissions), which in turn is related to the introduction of the phosphate rights trading system and to lower CO2 emissions by the manufacturing industry.

The Netherlands aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 to a 25 percent lower level than in 1990. In 2018, emissions were down by 14.5 percent relative to 1990. According to the most recent figures available at European level (2017), greenhouse gas emissions per capita are fairly high in the Netherlands: 11.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, which is 34 percent above the EU average.

CO2 emissions by energy companies back at 2013 level

Last year, the Netherlands emitted 161 billion kg of carbon dioxide (CO2), representing a decline of 4 billion or 2 percent on the previous year. Between 2017 and 2018, CO2 emissions by energy companies fell from 48 to 45 billion kg, back at the level of 2013.

In 2015, CO2 emission levels peaked as a result of new coal plants put into service and dropped in subsequent years as old plants were being closed down step by step. Last year, the discontinuation of electricity production by coal-fired plants was compensated by higher electricity imports, while gas-fired plants continued to run at the same level.

Carbon dioxide emissions by energy companies (bn kg)
 TotalCoalNatural gas and other
199039.8021.9017.90
199140.3019.7020.60
199240.8019.5021.30
199342.0018.9023.10
199445.8021.7024.10
199547.9023.0024.90
199648.5021.7026.80
199748.6020.4028.20
199850.3021.5028.80
199947.2017.8029.40
200048.4019.8028.60
200152.0021.2030.80
200253.0021.4031.60
200353.8021.8032.00
200455.0021.1033.90
200552.2019.7032.50
200648.0019.3028.70
200750.6020.3030.30
200850.0019.5030.50
200949.9019.5030.40
201052.0018.4033.60
201147.7017.3030.40
201244.8019.9024.90
201344.9020.8024.10
201448.5024.1024.40
201553.2031.4021.80
201652.0028.4023.60
201748.4023.8024.60
201845.3020.6024.70
Source: CBS, RIVM/Emissieregistratie

Economy up, emissions down

Relative to three years previously, greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 3 percent in 2018. At the same time, the Dutch economy grew by 8 percent. This means that the emission intensity of the Dutch economy has declined by 10 percent. This is partly related to the closure of old coal plants, an increase in renewable energy consumption, continuing energy savings and a growing share of the service sector in the total economy. As a result, last year’s emission intensity was down by 44 percent relative to 1990.

Emission intensity of Dutch economy (2015=100)
 Emission intensityEconomic growthGreenhouse gas emissions
2015100100100
201698102100
20179410599
20189010897

High emission intensity in Eastern Europe

In 2017, the emission intensity in the Netherlands was slightly above (3 percent) the EU average (257 CO2 equivalents per 1,000 euros of GDP). Seventeen EU countries, mainly in Eastern Europe, have a higher emission intensity than the Netherlands. It is highest in Bulgaria, namely four times higher than the EU average. The best performing countries have a relatively large manufacturing industry.

Countries such as France, Austria and Sweden have low scores, mainly because they use relatively few fossil fuels in their electricity production processes. France has many nuclear power plants and Austria has several hydro power plants while Sweden relies heavily on both nuclear energy and hydro power. The lowest emission intensity in Europe is recorded in Sweden, i.e. half the EU average.

CO2 equivalents per 1,000 euros of GDP ( per 1,000 euros of GDP)
 CO2 equivalents
Sweden125
France160
Luxembourg166
Austria172
United Kingdom182
Italy203
Ireland211
Belgium219
Spain255
Germany255
Netherlands265
Finland271
Malta309
Denmark314
Portugal372
Slovenia395
Cyprus404
Latvia446
Croatia454
Slovakia461
Greece464
Hungary472
Czech Republic587
Romania589
Lithuania619
Poland860
Estonia975
Bulgaria1112

Sources

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