February 3, 2023

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Lower emissions in the first quarter, despite economic growth

Lower emissions in the first quarter, despite economic growth

In the first quarter of 2022, greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands were 11 percent lower than in the same period the previous year. This is mainly due to lower consumption of natural gas, according to a report by Statistics Netherlands and RIVM. This consumption was less than a quarter.

“It’s amazing that emissions fell first and then also very quickly,” says CBS Chief Economist Peter Heine van Mulligen. “Generally speaking, greenhouse gas emissions are increasing as the economy grows. But in the last quarter the economy has grown and emissions have gone down. That mix doesn’t happen very often.”

natural gas prices

The decrease in greenhouse gas emissions is mainly due to the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions in the electricity sector, agriculture, industry and homes. Higher natural gas prices play a role, but they were also much warmer than they were in the same period in 2021.

In traffic, the level of emissions has returned to the same period in 2021. This level is still lower than it was before the Corona crisis.

Climate Agreement

The figures for the first quarter of 2022 don’t say much about the long-term goals of the United Nations climate agreement that took effect in 2020. “We only see the long-term effects of those goals,” says Van Mulligen. “During the Corona crisis, many economic activities also stopped because many people were in their homes. So such a situation is exceptional and difficult to compare with it.”

The chart below shows the emissions for each sector:

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