Greenhouse gas emissions higher in Q1 2021

© Hollandse Hoogte / Herman Engbers
In Q1 2021, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions showed a year-on-year increase of 1.4 percent. This is mainly due to higher natural gas consumption for heating and higher electricity production. In contrast, emissions from transportation were over 10 percent lower. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the latest quarterly figures on GHG emissions in accordance with the IPCC guidelines.

GHG emissions by source sector, Q1
   CO2 (megatonnes of CO2 equivalent)Other greenhouse gases (megatonnes of CO2 equivalent)
Buildings and construction2021100.2
Buildings and construction20208.80.2
Total IPCC202141.86.8
Total IPCC202041.26.8

Colder than in Q1 2020

Households used more natural gas in Q1 2021, because it was colder than in the same quarter last year. Partly because of this, emissions from buildings and construction were almost 14 percent higher than in Q1 2020. The cold weather also played a role in emissions from agriculture, which were up by 4 percent.

Emissions by electricity sector higher

In Q1 2021, emissions by the electricity sector were 5 percent higher than in the same quarter last year. This is mainly due to the higher electricity production (6 percent). The fuel mix of electricity production also changed (more coal, more renewable, less natural gas), but on balance this had a limited effect on emissions.

Lower emissions in transportation and manufacturing

The effects of the lockdown are visible in emissions from transportation, which were over 10 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2020. Manufacturing also reduced emissions (by 3 percent). This is mainly due to less consumption of residual gases by refineries and the chemical industry. With a share of over 30 percent, manufacturing is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Contributions of greenhouse gas emissions by source sector, Q1 2021
Buildings and construction20.9

Statistics Netherlands also calculates CO2 emissions from all Dutch economic activities according to the national accounts. Compared to the emissions according to the IPCC definitions, this also includes the CO2 emissions from international air and sea transport and the emissions from combustion of biomass. In the message below, the CO2 emissions are presented in accordance with the calculation method of the national accounts.

CO2 emissions by Dutch economy lower in Q1 2021

CO2 emissions from all economic activities in the Netherlands were 0.6 percent lower in Q1 than in the same quarter of 2020. According to the first calculation, gross domestic product (GDP) was down by 2.8 percent in the same period. This means that emissions fell less sharply than GDP.

CO2 emissions by the transport sector (including aviation) were almost 26 percent lower than one year previously. Due to the lockdown, many flights were cancelled and a large part of the fleet was grounded. Emissions from car use by households were also lower: over 15 percent. The decrease in emissions from the transport sector exceeded the increase in emissions from other economic activities.

CO2 emissions and economic development, Q1 2021
CategoriesCO2 emissions (year-on-year volume change in %)Value added (year-on-year volume change in %)GDP (year-on-year volume change in %)
Total (weather adjusted)-3.8
Energy and water supply,
waste management
Other services5.4-2.9
Agriculture, mining,
manufacturing and construction
Transport sector-25.8-11.1

The calculations of CO2 emissions are 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.