Less CO2 emitted in Q3 2020

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In Q3 2020, CO2 emissions from Dutch economic activities were 4.5 percent lower than in the same quarter of 2019. According to the first estimate, gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 2.5 percent in the same period. CO2 emissions were also lower in the two previous quarters. The impact of the coronavirus crisis on CO2 emissions is also clearly noticeable in Q3. For example, CO2 emissions by the transport sector were down by more than 40 percent year-on-year. However, energy companies emitted almost 9 percent more CO2, due to higher electricity production. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the latest quarterly figures on CO2 emissions.

Q3 2020 was less cold than Q3 2019. Adjusted for this weather effect, CO2 emissions in Q3 were 5.7 percent lower than one year previously.

CO2 emissions and economic development, Q3 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)-5.7
Transport sector-40.6-18.3
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Other services2.8-0.8
Energy and water supply,
waste management

CO2 emissions by transport sector considerably lower

CO2 emissions by the transport sector were down by over 40 percent in Q3 year-on-year. The value added was considerably lower as well. CO2 emissions by the aviation industry were more than 67 percent lower than one year previously. The number of airline passengers increased in Q3 compared to previous months after the relaxation of the measures against coronavirus, but was nevertheless still significantly lower than one year previously. 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.

Agriculture and manufacturing emit less CO2

In Q3, emissions of CO2 in the cluster agriculture, mining, manufacturing industry and construction were over 4 percent lower than in the same quarter last year. Within manufacturing, the industries show a mixed picture. Emissions fell in the petroleum industry and the basic metal industry, but increased in the chemical industry and other industries. This cluster accounted for 27 percent of total emissions.

Also lower CO2 emissions by households

CO2 emissions by households were 1.3 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. However, households used more natural gas to heat homes. In Q3, households accounted for more than 15 percent of total CO2 emissions.

However, CO2 emissions by other services were almost 3 percent higher than in Q3 2019. Its share in total CO2 emissions amounted to more than 10 percent.

CO2 emissions by energy companies up

In Q3 2020, CO2 emissions by energy, water and waste management companies were almost 9 percent higher than in the same quarter last year. Net electricity production was up year-on-year, partly because of growing electricity exports and shrinking imports. These companies accounted for more than 37 percent of total emissions in the third quarter.

Contributions of CO2 emissions by households and industries, Q3 2020
Energy and water supply,
waste management
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Other services10.3
Transport sector9.5

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.