Sunday 18 April 2021

Heavy industry greenhouse gas emissions scarcely dropped in 12 years


Greenhouse gas emissions from Dutch heavy industry have scarcely dropped since levels 12 years ago, reports the Volkskrant on Friday.

In 2005, the EU emissions trading system (ETS) was launched to limit emissions from power stations, industrial plants and airlines in 31 European countries. But since then, Dutch industries have only reduced such pollution by 4%, according to the Dutch Emissions Authority, the NEA.

In 2016, Dutch companies covered by the European system emitted 94 megatons of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and perfluorocarbons (PFCs). The slight drop was apparently largely due to a reduction of nitrous oxide production in the chemical industry.

But even this level is, in fact, higher than such pollution in 2012, reports the Volkskrant, which attributes the rise to the opening of coal plants resulting in CO2 emissions.

Hard to improve?

Kornelis Blok, professor of energy systems analysis at Delft University of Technology, told the paper he was not surprised by the relative lack of change: ‘I think that in 2005, when the ETS system began, Dutch industry was already pretty efficient. What is already good is hard to improve. In other countries, it was easier to make progress.’

But he reportedly added that companies have not invested in reducing greenhouse gases quickly, focusing on investments that pay back in several years. Glassware company Libbey this week started operating a new oven in Leerdam that should emit 55% less carbon dioxide, but this only has a 15 year life span, compared to conventional equipment that lasts for decades.

The Dutch government itself was ordered by a court to do more to reduce total emissions linked to climate change in 2015, but earlier this month the CBS statistics office revealed that they actually rose by 1% last year due to the growing economy.

Overall, the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions have fallen 11% since 1990, but the government is required to make a 25% cut by 2020.

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