CO2 emissions sharply lower in first quarter of 2020

© Hollandse Hoogte / Harold Versteeg
In the first quarter of 2020, CO2 emissions in the Netherlands were down by 8.7 percent year-on-year. Gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 0.2 percent in the same period, according to the second estimate. The decrease in CO2 emissions was mainly due to energy companies using less coal and more natural gas in their production process. The impact of the coronavirus crisis was also noticeable in CO2 emissions. Emissions by the aviation sector dropped by
11 percent, for example. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on the latest quarterly figures on CO2 emissions.

It was less cold in Q1 2020 than in the same quarter of 2019. Adjusted for this weather effect, CO2 emissions were 7.5 percent lower than one year previously.

CO2 emissions and economic development, Q1 2020
CategoriesCO2 emissions (year-on-year volume change in %)Value added by producers (year-on-year volume change in %)GDP (year-on-year volume change in %)
Total (weather adjusted)-7.5
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Other services-60.5
Transport sector-6.9-4
Energy and water supply,
waste management

Lower CO2 emissions by energy companies

In Q1 2020, CO2 emissions by energy, water and waste management companies were down by 20 percent year-on-year. These companies accounted for almost 23 percent of total CO2 emissions. Electricity companies used less coal and more natural gas in their production process. Combustion of natural gas results in lower CO2 emissions than coal combustion. Electricity production was down in the first quarter, while electricity imports were up. Production of wind and solar energy was higher than one year previously as well.

Transport sector emits less CO2

CO2 emissions by the transport sector were down by 7 percent year-on-year. The value added (output minus intermediate consumption) was lower in this period as well. Emissions by the aviation sector and road haulage were sharply lower; as a result of the coronavirus crisis, there were fewer transport movements, particularly in March. The transport sector accounted for over 10 percent of total emissions.

Lower CO2 emissions by households and services sector

CO2 emissions by households were 6 percent lower than one year previously. Households consumed less natural gas for heating of homes due to the mild winter. Emissions on account of motor fuel consumption were also lower. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Dutch government requested people to stay home as much as possible and to work from home, if possible. In Q1 2020, households occupied a share in total CO2 emissions of 22 percent. Furthermore, CO2 emissions by the services sector, accounting for 11 percent of total emissions, were 6 percent down year-on-year.

CO2 emissions down in agriculture and manufacturing

In Q1 2020, emissions of CO2 in the cluster agriculture, mining, manufacturing industry and construction were 2.5 percent down on one year previously. This cluster was responsible for over one-third of total emissions in that quarter. The agricultural sector, the chemical industry and the basic metal industry emitted less CO2 in particular.

Contributions of CO2 emissions by households and industries, Q1 2020
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Energy and water supply,
waste management
Other services11
Transport sector10.4

The calculation of CO2 emissions is consistent with the definitions used in the Environmental Accounts. This is a first estimate based on information available at that particular moment. Figures may change as a result of new statistical source information becoming available at a later stage.

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