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Weather & economic crisis curb greenhouse gas emissions

Greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands in 2011 were 6,5 percent lower than in 2010, due to a decrease in energy consumption of nearly 7 percent. Emissions of greenhouse gases were 8 percent lower than 1990 levels, the base year for the landmark Kyoto Protocol climate change agreement.

The emission of greenhouse gases in 2011 equalled 196 billion CO2-equivalents, 14 billion CO2-equivalents (over 6,5 percent) less than in 2010. The decrease is almost entirely due to a decrease in emissions of carbon dioxide rather than other greenhouse gases.

Over half of the reduction in CO2 emissions can be attributed to the mild winter weather in 2011. Households and offices in particular used much less natural gas for heating. The energy sector also produced considerably less electricity, and therefore also used less natural gas and emitted more than 8 percent less CO2. However, electricity use overall remained unchanged as a result of a rise in imports.

The recession also contributed to reduced emissions. Manufacturing production fell at the end of 2011, leading to a 4 percent reduction in emissions by the manufacturing industry. On the other hand, emissions by road traffic increased by just over 1 percent.

According to the Kyoto Protocol, during the period from 2008 to 2012 the Netherlands must reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by an annual average of 6 percent from 1990 levels. The emission in the base year is set at 213 billion CO2-equivalents.

The Netherlands may therefore emit a maximum of 1.001 billion CO2-equivalents over this time period (0,94 times 213 times 5 years = 1.001).

Including these provisional figures for 2011, the CO2-equivalents emitted thus far add up to 810 billion, so in 2012 a maximum of 191 billion more CO2-equivalents may be emitted for the Netherlands to meet its Kyoto targets.

However, part of the agreed reduction may also be realised outside the Netherlands. For example, the Netherlands may buy emission rights from other countries, or finance projects that result in reduced emissions abroad.

Source: Statistics Netherlands

 

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Carly Blair

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