Greenhouse gas emissions 9 percent lower in Q3 2023

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© ANP / Rob Engelaar
In Q3 2023, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 9 percent lower than in Q3 2022. This was mainly due to 37 percent lower emissions in the electricity sector. Much less electricity has been produced from coal. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)/Emissions Register report this on the basis of provisional quarterly figures on GHG emissions, in accordance with the IPCC guidelines.

GHG emissions by source sector, Q3
SectorYearCO2 (megatonnes of CO2-equivalent)Other greenhouse gases (megatonnes of CO2-equivalent)
Totaal IPCC2023*266.4
Totaal IPCC2022*29.26.4
Land use2023*10.1
Land use2022*10.1
Buildings and construction2023*0.90.1
Buildings and construction2022*1.20.1
* provisional figures

Emissions of greenhouse gases from the electricity sector are considerably lower

In Q3 2023, GHG emissions in the electricity sector were 37 percent lower than in the same quarter last year. This is because coal-based electricity production was 79 percent lower. Coal consumption causes more emissions than natural gas. The lower electricity production from coal was compensated by more production from wind energy (+65 percent), natural gas (+16 percent) and solar energy (+13 percent).

Due to the significant drop in emissions, the share of the electricity sector in total greenhouse gas emissions also decreased. From 23 percent in Q3 2022 to more than 16 percent in Q3 2023.

The mobility sector and the built environment (homes, offices, schools, care institutions, etc.) emitted 5 and 19 percent fewer greenhouse gases respectively in Q3 than one year previously. Emissions from the built environment are relatively low in the summer and accounted for only 3 percent of the total in Q3 2023.

Manufacturing greenhouse gas emissions are virtually the same

Greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing were virtually the same as in Q3 2022. In manufacturing, slightly more natural gas, but less oil and coal was used. Manufacturing had the largest share of total greenhouse gas emissions, at almost 39 percent.

More greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture

In Q3 2023, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture were 6 percent higher. This is because greenhouse horticulture has made more use of their combined heat and power installations (CHP) based on natural gas, probably due to the decreased natural gas prices. However, the majority of emissions from agriculture concern methane and nitrous oxide from livestock and land. Its emissions remained unchanged. Agriculture's share of total emissions was 17 percent.

Small part of emissions from land use

A small part of GHG emissions, over 3 percent, is related to land use. This concerns, for example, the CO2 emissions from oxidation of peat soils and the emissions associated with changes in land use.

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

Contributions of greenhouse gas emissions by source sector, Q3 2023
Land use3.4
Buildings and construction3.3

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

Fewer CO2 emissions by the Dutch economy

In Q3 2023, the Dutch economy emitted 10.5 percent less CO2 than in Q3 2022, while gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.6 percent in the same period. The decrease in CO2 emissions is mainly due to lower use of coal by the electricity sector. Total emissions are also related to weather conditions. When it is colder, emissions are higher. Taking this into account, the decrease in CO2 emissions amounted to 8.5 percent.

In Q3, CO2 emissions from mineral extraction, manufacturing and construction altogether were virtually the same as in the same quarter one year previously. The basic metal industry emitted less CO2, while those from the chemical and petroleum were higher.

The transport sector emitted 1.9 percent less CO2 than one year previously. The decrease was mainly due to inland shipping, maritime and road transport. However, CO2 emissions from aviation were over 6 percent higher than in Q3 2022.

CO2 emissions and economic development, Q3 2023
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)-8.5
manufacturing and construction
Transport sector-1.9-9.1
Other services-14.4-0.1
Energy and water supply,
waste management

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.