Greenhouse gas emissions 4 percent lower in Q1 2023

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© CBS / Alrik Swagerman
In Q1 2023, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 4 percent lower than in Q1 2022. This was mainly due to lower emissions from the built environment and manufacturing. However, emissions in the mobility sector (traffic and transport) were 10 percent higher than one year previously. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)/Emissions Register report this on the basis of an initial estimate of GHG emissions for 2022, in accordance with the IPCC guidelines.

GHG emissions by source sector, Q1
   CO2 (megatonnes of CO2equivalent)Other greenhouse gases (megatonnes of CO2equivalent)
Total IPCC2023*35.86.9
Total IPCC2022*37.47
Total IPCC201946.77.5
Buildings and construction2023*7.80.3
Buildings and construction2022*8.90.3
Buildings and construction201910.30.4
Land use2023*10.1
Land use2022*10.1
Land use201910.1
* provisional figures

Especially fewer emissions from built environment and manufacturing

As in the previous quarter, high natural gas prices led to lower natural gas consumption in the first quarter of 2023. As a result, the built environment (homes, offices, schools, care institutions, etc.) and manufacturing emitted 12 and 8 percent fewer greenhouse gases, respectively, than in the same quarter of 2022. Manufacturing and the built environment make the largest contributions to greenhouse gas emissions in the first quarter, with shares of 27 and 19 percent.

Emissions from the agricultural sector were approximately 3 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2022. The decrease is smaller than for manufacturing and homes, partly because greenhouse horticulture also consumed less natural gas in the first quarter of last year due to the relatively high gas prices.

In the electricity sector, output and greenhouse gas emissions were virtually the same as a year earlier. The electricity production companies consumed slightly more coal, but slightly less natural gas than in the first quarter of last year.

Mobility emissions almost back to pre-pandemic levels

Greenhouse gas emissions from mobility were 10 percent higher in the first quarter of this year than in the same quarter of 2022. Emissions were therefore almost back to pre-coronavirus levels. This is mainly because 22 percent more petrol was used. Diesel consumption was 4 percent higher than in the first quarter of 2023.

Small part of the emissions from land use

A small part of the greenhouse gas emissions, 2.5 percent, is related to land use. This concerns, for example, the CO2 emissions from peat oxidation in soils and the emissions associated with changes in land use (such as new buildings at the expense of green areas).

From now on, emissions from the land use climate sector will be included in the total greenhouse gas emissions, because they count towards the current Dutch target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030. Land use is also included in the climate targets of the European Union.

Contributions of greenhouse gas emissions by source sector, Q1 2023
Buildings and construction19.1
Land use2.5

CBS also calculates CO2 emissions from all domestic economic activities according to the national accounts. Compared to 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 the Dutch economy lower

In Q1 2023, the Dutch economy emitted 3.3 percent less CO2 than in Q1 2022, while gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 1.9 percent in the same period. The drop in emissions from the Dutch economy is mainly due to lower natural gas consumption by households and manufacturing. On the other hand, the consumption of petrol by households was considerably higher. Adjusted for the weather effect, the decline in CO2 emissions amounted to 5.3 percent.

In Q1, CO2 emissions from mineral extraction, manufacturing and construction together were 5.9 percent lower than in the same quarter a year earlier. The chemical and basic metal industries in particular have emitted less CO2. However, emissions from the construction sector were higher. The transport sector emitted 8.8 percent more CO2, while value added was 3.4 percent lower. The higher emissions were mainly due to the partial recovery of aviation. CO2 emissions from aviation were over 18 percent higher than in Q1 2022. Emissions from inland shipping were also higher. On the other hand, emissions from maritime transport were lower than in Q1 2022.

CO2 emissions and economic development, Q1 2023
CategoriesCO2 emissions (year-on-year volume change in %)Value added (year-on-year volume change in %)Bbp (year-on-year volume change in %)
Total (weather adjusted)-5.3
Transport sector8.8-3.4
Energy and water supply,
waste management
manufacturing and construction
Other services-8.82.6