Increasing reliance on coal in Netherlands this year

Over the past five months coal consumption in the Netherlands has been nearly a third higher than in the past three years, despite attempts to reduce green house gas emissions in the country. Coal combustion produces almost twice as much greenhouse gas as gas-fired power plants.

This is according to figures by Statistics Netherlands, the Volkskrant reports.

The peak of coal consumption was reached in April with nearly 1.3 billion kilograms consumed. There was a slight decline in May, but the consumption was still well above the average of recent years.

In the second quarter of this year the CO2 emissions in the Netherlands were 4.1 percent higher than in the same period last year. Statistics Netherlands partly attributes this to the use of more coal instead of natural gas in power plants.  Other contributing factors are the stronger economy and the higher gas consumption due to the cold weather in April. Adjusted for the weather, the CO2 emissions increased by 2.7 percent.

Closing coal plants is the easiest and most quickly effective ways to reduce emissions. For this reason the climate agreement includes the closure of five older coal plants. The last one will close in 2017. Environmental organizations want to accelerate this closure. Civic platform Urgenda therefore filed a lawsuit against the government in June to try and force them to take more action in combating global warming. The court ruled in Urgenda's favor. The cabinet is currently considering whether or not to appeal.