Dutch greenhouse gas emissions down 9% in 2022 achieving court ordered target
Last year, the Netherlands emitted 9 percent less greenhouse gasses than in 2021, Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported on Wednesday. With that, emissions were 32 percent lower than in 1990, achieving the court-ordered target in the Urgenda ruling.
In 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions must be at least 25 percent lower than in 1990 every year. In 2020, the country achieved that goal, largely thanks to the coronavirus pandemic bringing much of the economy to a standstill. In 2021, emissions increased again, and the Netherlands just missed the target with 24.9 percent fewer emissions than in 1990.
In 2022, emissions mainly decreased due to lower gas consumption, CBS said. According to the statistics office, citizens and businesses made “significant cutbacks” in their gas usage due to the high prices caused by Russia invading Ukraine. The weather was also very mild, so less gas was needed to heat buildings.
The government temporarily allowed coal-fired power plants to burn more coal to meet the electricity demand, but the total amount of coal burned remained about the same as in 2021. The Netherlands also generated more electricity from renewable sources - about 40 percent.
The Supreme Court ruling in 2019 was in a case filed by the environmental organization Urgenda against the Dutch state. Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma told ANP that she is, of course, happy that emissions have fallen further because climate change poses “great dangers to life on earth.”
But the Netherlands is still deep in the danger zone, Minnesma added. A quarter fewer emissions than in 1990 is “the absolute lower limit” for global warming to be limited to less than 2 degrees. “We must focus on the future and ensure that the earth does not warm up by more than 1.5 degrees,” she said. And that will require more action from the government.
“The Dutch government’s climate policy shows absolutely no urgency,” Minnemsa told the news wire. “The earth has already warmed up by about 1.2 degrees. We are heading for global warming of 2 to 3 degrees.”