More than one-fifth less CO2 emitted in Q2 2020

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© Hollandse Hoogte / Flip Franssen
In the second quarter of 2020, CO2 emissions from Dutch economic activities were 21.1 percent lower than in the same quarter of 2019. According to the first estimate, gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 9.3 percent in the same period. The decrease in CO2 emissions is partly due to energy companies using less coal in their production process. The impact of the coronavirus crisis on CO2 emissions is also clearly noticeable. For example, CO2 emissions by the transport sector were down by around one-half year-on-year. Statistics Netherlands reports this on the basis of the latest quarterly figures on CO2 emissions.

Q2 2020 was less cold than Q2 2019. Adjusted for this weather effect, CO2 emissions were 20.5 percent lower than one year previously.

CO2 emissions and economic development, Q2 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)-20.5
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Other services-11.8-6.6
Energy and water supply,
waste management
Transport sector-48.3-25.6

CO2 emissions by energy companies down by one-quarter

In Q2 2020, CO2 emissions by energy, water and waste management companies were around one-quarter lower than in the same quarter last year. These companies accounted for more than 30 percent of total emissions in the second quarter.

In recent years, electricity companies have used less coal and more natural gas. In the first half of 2020, the consumption of coal for the production of electricity was more than 60 percent lower than in the same period one year previously. Combustion of natural gas results in lower CO2 emissions than coal combustion. Electricity production from renewable sources, such as solar power and wind energy, was higher in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

Lower CO2 emissions by households and services sector

CO2 emissions by households were more than 17 percent lower than in the same quarter last year. 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. As a result, emissions from car use decreased in particular. Households also used less natural gas to heat homes because of the relatively warm spring weather. In Q2, households accounted for more than 17 percent of total CO2 emissions.

CO2 emissions by the services sector were almost 12 percent lower than in Q2 2019. Its share in total CO2 emissions amounted to more than 11 percent.

Agriculture and manufacturing also emit less CO2

In Q2, emissions of COin the cluster agriculture, mining, manufacturing industry and construction were 9 percent lower than in the same quarter last year. This cluster accounted for more than 31 percent of total emissions. The chemical and basic metal industries in particular emitted less CO2.

CO2 emissions by the transport sector nearly halved

CO2 emissions by the transport sector were down by almost half in Q2 year-on-year. The value added was considerably lower as well. CO2 emissions by the aviation industry were more than 80 percent lower than one year previously. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many flights were cancelled in the second quarter and a large part of the fleet was grounded. Road transport also emitted considerably less CO2 due to the coronavirus crisis. The share of the transport sector in total emissions stood at over 9 percent.

Contributions of CO2 emissions by households and industries, Q2 2020
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Energy and water supply,
waste management
Other services11.7
Transport sector9.1

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.