Meeting EU goals: The Netherlands needs to cut CO2 emissions

Meeting EU goals: The Netherlands needs to cut CO2 emissions

Plans presented by the European Union last week should see the bloc drastically reduce carbon emissions over the coming years (and decades). The reality is that, while the Netherlands may have big plans for the future, the country continues to emit above-average levels of greenhouse gases. 

EU policy strives to cut greenhouse gas emissions 

The EU has a long way to go if it hopes to set a standard for the rest of the world to follow; the union still emits more carbon dioxide per capita than the rest of the world, emitting an average of 8,6 tons per capita in 2019. 

While high, this figure has decreased significantly since 1990 - when the EU was emitting an average of 12,7 tons per capita - and will be further reduced over the coming years. “If we have succeeded in reducing emissions by 55 percent by 2030, we will probably be below the global average,” says Pieter Boot from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). 

The new EU climate policy is geared towards the bloc being carbon neutral by 2050. The policy includes plans to tax jet fuel and effectively ban the sale of petrol and diesel-powered cars. Residents of the union could see utility bills rise and flight tickets become more expensive over the next 20 years as a result of the changes.

The Netherlands emits above-average levels of CO2

The Dutch government has been keen to set strict climate targets in an attempt to lead the pack, both in Europe and around the world. However, the reality shows that the country still has an exceedingly long way to go. 

The Netherlands cut greenhouse gas emissions by an impressive 22 percent between 2000 and 2019, but two years ago the country was still, on average, emitting more greenhouse gases than the rest of the EU and the rest of the world.  

In 2019, the Netherlands emitted an average of 11,1 tones per capita - significantly higher than the global average of 6,8 tones per capita. In the same year, renewable energy accounted for a measly 8,8 percent of total energy production. Boot says that if the Netherlands would like to see real change, the first and easiest step would be to close coal-fired power plants.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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