Climate and Energy Outlook 2021

This annual publication is stipulated by the Dutch Climate Act and regarded as one of the accountability instruments of Dutch climate and energy policy. Taking adopted and proposed policies as the point of reference, Dutch greenhouse gas emissions are expected to decrease by between 38% and 48% in 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This means that the government’s emission reduction target of 49% by 2030 is not yet in view.

Projected lower emission level for 2030 largely due to concrete policy for industry, mobility and transport

In industry and the mobility and transport sector, over the past year, policy measures have been more concrete. For heavy industry, the new CO2 tax, in combination with the SDE++ subsidy, causes a structural change in projected greenhouse gas emissions. These policy measures will likely decrease emissions by 9–16 megatonnes CO2 equivalents by 2030. This decrease will largely be attributable to carbon capture and storage (CCS). A smaller share can be attributed to electrification, energy saving and a reduction in non-CO2 greenhouse gases. Amongst other measures, the concretisation of the policy on renewable energy will lead to a decrease in emissions in the mobility and transport sector of close to 3 Mt by 2030.

Additional climate policy needed to achieve government target for 2030 and EU ambitions

With an expected decrease in emissions of between 38% and 48% by 2030, another 1–11 percentage points remain, in relation to the 49% target, which equals 3 to 25 Mt CO2 eq. According to the Climate and Energy Outlook, of this remainder, a further 2–4 Mt CO2 eq could be reduced by the timely implementation of a number of measures from the Climate Agreement currently on the agenda. A separate PBL publication about the climate and energy measures in the Budget Memorandum 2022 concludes that these measures can lead to a few more megatons in emission reduction by 2030.

The recent ‘Fit for 55’ package of measures proposed by the EU has as yet not been made sufficiently concrete to project its potential contribution to closing the gap to the 49% target by 2030. The package contains proposals and ambitions that may change, substantially, in the course of the decision-making process, but it will undoubtedly require a large additional effort by the Netherlands.

All things considered, the Netherlands faces the major task of having to implement current climate and energy policy as vigorously as possible, and to concretise current national climate targets plus the additional efforts in the ‘Fit for 55’ proposals. This implies additional climate policy for 2030, which also takes into account the long-term energy transition up to 2050 and other policy themes, such as addressing the issue of nitrogen emissions.


PBL Authors
Pieter Hammingh Bert Daniels Paul Koutstaal
Other authors
Marijke Menkveld (TNO)


Publication title
Netherlands Climate and Energy Outlook 2021
Publication date
28 October 2021
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