AMSTERDAM, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Dutch greenhouse gas emissions rose by 5 percent in 2015 from a year earlier, Statistics Netherlands said on Monday, again highlighting the difficulty the country will have meeting its Kyoto Protocol commitments by 2020.
The agency said the reason for the increase was largely due to an increase in use of coal, as three new large coal-fired plants came online in 2015 while gas-fired plants — which produce less carbon dioxide but are more expensive to operate — were moth-balled.
In June 2015 a court found that Mark Rutte’s government was failing to ensure the Netherlands will meet its Kyoto goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020, and ordered it to change course.
The government agreed to abide by the ruling but will not give details of how until sometime this fall.
Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp has indicated his solution will include increasing funding for renewable projects, as well as funding carbon capture and geothermal heating projects.
He said the government would also consider shutting two older coal plants — but not the three new ones built by Germany’s E.ON and RWE, and France’s Engie at a cost of 5.5 billion euros ($6.13 billion).
After consultancy CE Delft published a study last week arguing the cheapest way to reach the 2020 goal would be to shut at least one of the new plants, Kamp repeated on a television appearance Sunday he has no plans to do so.
“They are the cleanest (coal plants) in Europe, we’d be crazy if we shut them,” Kamp said.
Dutch carbon dioxide emissions were 2 percent higher in 2015 than in 1990, mostly due to the increase in coal-powered generation.
Overall greenhouse gas emissions were 12 percent lower in 2015 than in 1990, as use of methane, nitrous oxide and fluorine containing gases have all been sharply reduced. ($1 = 0.8973 euros) (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Angus MacSwan)