Measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The Dutch government is doing many things to prevent climate change. For instance, it is making agreements with businesses about using less energy.

Adapting to the effects of climate change

The Netherlands must adapt to the effects of climate change. It has to, for example, reinforce dikes and dunes, and modify storm drains so they can handle greater volumes of water.

Climate scenarios developed by the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) tell the government what risks our country faces. In this way, the Netherlands can adapt to a changing climate.

Cutting greenhouse gas emissions by industry and energy companies

In the Netherlands industry and energy companies are responsible for around half of all greenhouse gas emissions. Larger companies are subject to the EU Emissions Trading System  (ETS). Their carbon emissions must be covered by ‘emission allowances’. Companies can trade these with each other within the European Union.

The ETS does not apply to smaller companies and companies like energy distributors and waste processing plants. Instead these are covered by the following measures:

Cutting transport emissions

Transport, including freight transport, accounts for around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands. The sector is working to reduce these emissions in several ways:

  • There are emission standards for passengers cars and delivery vans. Standards will also be introduced for lorries.
  • Trade organisations, Dutch Railways (NS), Schiphol Airport and the Port of Rotterdam have made agreements on  sustainable transport mobility. For instance, they will renew their rolling stock and make it more energy efficient.
  • Fuel providers must  blend petrol and diesel with biofuels. By 2020, these fuels must contain at least 10% biofuels.

Cutting emissions in construction and housing

Around 15% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands come from gas and electricity used in homes and other buildings. The Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth contains measures for buildings to save more energy, faster. These include:

  • Organisations in the construction and housing sector will make at least 300,000 homes a year more energy efficient.
  • The Energy Performance Coefficient (EPC) is an energy-efficiency standard that all new buildings must meet. In the years ahead, the government will gradually lower the EPC. The lower the EPC, the more efficient the building.
  • 15 'block by block’ projects. Municipalities and companies are looking at energy-saving options for entire blocks of homes.

Cutting emissions in agriculture and horticulture

Agriculture and horticulture are responsible for 10% to 15% of greenhouse gas emissions in The Netherlands. Glasshouse horticulture emits the most carbon dioxide. Livestock and crop farming are major sources of methane and nitrous oxide. These are greenhouse gases too. Measures to lower emissions from agriculture and horticulture include:

  • the innovation programme for climate-neutral greenhouses;
  • encouraging livestock farmers to use sustainable animal feed, and use fertiliser as efficiently as possible;
  • generating biogas from manure.