Geopolitical Informations

16.80 million (2013)
Total area
41,543 km2

Main legislative bodies

  • States General of the Netherlands (bicameral)

Latest News

Court orders Dutch government to increase national GHG emission reduction target

On Wednesday (June 24), in a ground-breaking ruling, the Court of The Hague determined that the Dutch government needs to raise its national emission reduction targets considerably. The court reportedly agreed that the country is endangering its citizens by not tacking serious climate action. The state holds the responsibility of effectively controlling carbon emission levels, stated read more…

China launches first phase of national ETS

Chinese government on Tuesday (Dec.19) released details about the start of the long-awaited national carbon trading scheme, Reuters reports. Once operational, China’s ETS will read more...

Macron’s climate finance rally to accelerate global response to climate change

On the two-year anniversary of the Paris climate Agreement, the French presidency organized an international summit to increase climate financing to accelerate efforts to read more...

Climate Policy Facts


Year Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF ( MtCO2e) Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF Per Capita ( tCO2e Per Capita) Total GHG Emissions Excluding LUCF Per GDP ( tCO2e / Million $ GDP)
1990 209.47 14.01 457.99
1991 218.46 14.5 466.28
1992 217.04 14.29 455.47
1993 221.41 14.48 458.87
1994 223.03 14.5 448.94
1995 224.5 14.52 438.24
1996 229.95 14.81 434.09
1997 222.53 14.26 402.86
1998 221.15 14.08 385.24
1999 214.52 13.57 356.97
2000 215.8 13.55 345.49
2001 220.26 13.73 345.96
2002 218.96 13.56 343.67
2003 222.13 13.69 347.48
2004 222.25 13.65 340.06
2005 218.51 13.39 327.62
2006 213.32 13.05 309.35
2007 214.99 13.12 300.01
2008 215.92 13.13 295.97
2009 208.17 12.59 296.2
2010 218.03 13.12 305.57
2011 205.76 12.33 285.67

The line chart shows the country’s carbon emissions by year, expressed in million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e) for emission totals, and in tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) for per capita and per dollar of GDP values. It is based on data from CAIT platform provided by the World Resource Insititute, and updated regularly with the most recent data available.

By selecting or deselecting each item, you can compare or give prominence to particular emission trends.



Energy Source Production (ktoe) TPES (ktoe)
Coal 0 8067,342
Oil 1935,495 29728,193
Natural gas 61749,731 33046,441
Nuclear 753,412 753,412
Hydro 9,89 9,89
Geothermal 23,713 23,713
Solar thermal 25,958 25,958
Solar photovoltaics 39,732 39,732
Tide, wave, ocean 0 0
Wind 479,364 479,364
Biomass 1025,837 1113,739
Biofuels 1783,714 622,398
Waste 1527,055 1706,967

The double-doughnut chart shows the country’s energy production and TPES (Total Primary Energy Supply), expressed in thousand tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe). It is built on data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development/International Energy Agency libraries, and updated regularly with the most recent data available.

The INNER RING represents the country’s energy production from each energy source, corresponding to the quantities of fuels extracted or produced.

The OUTER RING shows the country’s total primary energy supply of each fuel. It represents the net quantities of fuels made available on the domestic market, after foreign transfers and trading. According to IEA’s definition, TPES equals production plus imports minus exports minus international bunkers plus or minus stock changes.

Differences between production and TPES are significant as they highlight the actual country’s behaviour in the matter of a given energy source. Production values and TPES values of the same energy source may vary widely, especially in case of the much-traded fossil fuels.

Energy data refers to year 2013.


National Policy

National policy

The national policy of the Netherlands has been largely developed under the framework of EU climate and energy policies. National targets deriving from European directives require an increase of the renewable energy (RE) share in final energy consumption to 14 percent by 2020, including a 10 percent share in the transport sector; a reduction of total GHG emissions by 16 percent by 2020 compared to 2005 levels; a non-binding reduction energy consumption by 1.5 percent per year. Current trends indicate that the country is lagging behind on the attainment on these goals. A self-defined target to increase the RE share by two additional percentage points compared to the EU target of 14 percent was revised in 2013 due to lacking progress.

Despite the large amount of national and European climate programmes, the country has no climate change-dedicated law, whilst the legal basis for such regulation is provided by the Environmental Management Act of 20014 (see below). In 2014 the government announced a modernization of its environmental policy, under the rationale of reducing complexity and fragmentation of the current environmental legislation. A series of policies included in an Environmental Bill should gain legislative status by 2018.


Climate Change

As a country with a high population density and partly located below the sea level, the Netherlands is particularly interested in curbing the impacts of climate change. Due to these inherent features, both adaptation and mitigation measures are integrated with sustainable development goals, and particular emphasis is given to flood management and resiliency building.

Climate Agenda: Resilient, Prosperous and Green (2013)

The Climate Agenda encompasses a large amount of both adaptation and mitigation measures under a long-term approach for attaining emission reduction goals for 2050. In addition, the agenda encloses previous mitigation targets and support for European policy instruments. The three main themes identified to tackle climate change are: broadly-based coalitions of companies and public players, mitigation, and adaptation.

Full document available in pdf format: Netherlands_Climate Agenda (2014)

Sustainability Agenda (2011)

Based on the international Climate Agenda, the National Roadmap Climate 2050 and the Local Climate Agenda 2011, the Sustainability Agenda aims at the transformation towards green economy and green growth. It identifies a list of priority areas, including resources and product chains, sustainable water and land use, food, climate and energy, and mobility.

Full document available in pdf format (in Dutch): Netherlands_Sustainability Agenda (2011)

New Energy for Climate Policy: The Clean and Efficient Programme (CEP) (2007, amended 2010)

The Programme was established with the purpose of setting strict GHG emission targets, increasing the share of RE and enhancing energy efficiency (EE). More in detail, it set the following targets:

  • a 30 percent reduction of GHG emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels;
  • a 20 percent share of renewables in energy consumption by 2020;
  • a 20 percent EE improvement by 2020.

These targets, more ambitious than the corresponding EU commitments, were lowered with the 2010 amendment to EU minimum requirements.

More information available in the Netherlands Country Profile from the 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study (see below)

Environmental Management Act (2004)

The document provides a legal basis for further legislation that encompasses a range of fields including environmental permits, CO2 emissions trading, waste prevention, water quality and landfill policy. The Act provides an inclusive legal framework for environmental management, defining institutional roles and responsibilities.

Full document available in pdf format: Netherlands_Environmental management act (2004)



Delta Act on Water Safety and Fresh Water Supply (2012)

In order to address the high risks connected to flooding, water shortages and sea level rise that are present at the national level, the Delta Act establishes a series of water-related programmes, the most relevant being the Delta Programme, whose latest update was issued in 2015. The Delta Programme sets a long-term strategy to sustainably manage water resources, identifying adaptation measures for climate change. Thanks to its design as national joint venture, the programme engages numerous public and private stakeholders.

Full document available in pdf format (in Dutch): Netherlands_Delta Act (2012)

National Programme for Spatial Adaptation to Climate Change (ARK) (2007)

Complementarily to the Delta Act, the ARK programme constitutes the other key document for national adaptation. The project encompassed national and local institutions and resulted in the 2007 National Adaptation Strategy, which implements the ARK. Three priority areas are identified: raising awareness, forming networks and developing strategy. Actions to address the priority areas are communication of the climate change problem, involvement of all relevant stakeholders to raise awareness and increase support, encouraging co-ordination among stakeholders, clarifying prospects for action and joint development of a national adaptation strategy and adaptation agenda.

Full document available in pdf format: Netherlands_National Programme for Spatial Adaptation to Climate Change (2007)



The country envisions the use of all types of energy sources for electricity production in the future, with a significant contribution provided by renewables, whose share should reach 14 percent of the energy mix by 2020.

A vast range of regulations and policies for energy demand reduction were introduced with the CEP programme (see above) in 2007, consisting of EE measures in the industry, building, transport and agricultural sectors. In the recent years, the Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth (see below) and the Climate Agenda (see above) have been the main frameworks for such policies.

Stimulating Renewable Energy Production (SDE+) (2011, last updated 2014)

SDE+ is the latest support scheme for RE investments that replaces the previous aid scheme, SDE. It provides a premium feed-in tariff (FIT) to support renewable energy and heat generation, with a yearly budget that accounted for € 3.5 billion in 2014. The subsidy is intended to bridge the gap between wholesale market price and RE electricity generation cost and lasts for 15 years. Depending on price fluctuations the subsidy decreases or increases to cover the cost difference. Energy producers are given funds for energy investments through a quasi-tendering process under which the projects with the lowest costs are prioritized. Since there is no separation between different RE categories, the scheme does not provide significant support to newer technologies. Due to the marginal role of SDE+ in promoting solar power, investments in the private sector in solar PV have been encouraged with different levels of success through other measures such as the one enclosed in the Spring Agreement (2012).

More information on the SDE+ available in pdf format (in Dutch): Netherlands_SDE+ brochure (2012)

National Energy Saving Fund (2014)

This € 300 million fund financing energy-saving investments provides soft loans with a 12-year payback period. The fund is co-financed between the government and private banks.

More information (in Dutch) available on the Government website

Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth (2013)

This society-wide agreement bringing together over forty public, private and non-governmental organisations plays a central role in national energy policy, as it constitutes a comprehensive programme envisioning long-term sustainable development attained through mid- and short-term measures. The agreement includes a reduction of final energy consumption by 1.5 percent annually, a growth in RE share to 14 percent by 2020 and to 16 percent by 2023, support to clean energy investments and the connected green jobs creation. The RE target relies mostly on onshore and offshore wind energy and encompasses a wind power capacity target of 4450 MW by 2023.

Summary available in pdf format: Netherlands_Energy Agreement for Sustainable Growth_Summary (2013)

Green Deals (2011)

Under this programme, launched to help attain the EU 2020 target, various stakeholders can present green projects to the government for evaluation. Eligible projects are granted soft loans from an innovation fund, tax benefits and other forms of support.

More info on the government website

Crisis and Recovery Act (2010)

The bill was issued to address the lengthy administrative processes relating to investments aimed at spurring economic growth that, due to their slow proceedings, undermine a timely realization. The Act ensures that such proceedings are carried out in a timely fashion by accelerating the decision-making process.

Document available (in Dutch) on the government website

National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) (2010)

In accordance with EU legislation requiring Member States to issue Action Plans outlining national contributions to the European 2020 targets, the country presented its NREAP in 2010. In the document the following national targets are defined:

  • a 14.5 percent share of RE-sourced energy in gross final energy consumption;
  • a 9 percent share of RE-sourced heat consumption;
  • a 37 percent share of RE-sourced electricity in total electricity demand;
  • a 10 percent share of REs meeting energy demand in the transport sector.

The NREAP relies on a series of complementary measures to achieve these targets.

Document available in pdf format: Netherlands_NREAP (2010)

Energy Investment Tax Allowance scheme (EIA) (1997)

This financial measure has the goal of reducing GHG emission by providing a tax deduction to investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy production, currently set at 41.5 percent of the purchase or production costs and deducted from the company’s yearly profits. The total deduction budget is € 106 million for 2015. An Energy List of about 160 energy efficient investments specifies the eligible types of investment. Despite the fluctuating level of effectiveness throughout its existence and the numerous changes, the EIA is still part of the policy mix.

More information available in the Energy List 2015 pdf document (in Dutch): Netherlands_EIA Energy List (2015) and on the Netherlands Enterprise Agency website



Covenant Clean and Efficient Agrosectors (2008)

The Covenant is a public-private agreement under which the agricultural sector committed to several reductions in emissions and energy consumption, including an annual energy saving of two percent, a reduction of greenhouse gas emission by 30 percent by 2020, and a 20 percent use of sustainable energy in 2020.

Full document available in pdf format (in Dutch): Netherlands_Covenant Clean and Efficient Agrosectors (2008)


Measures to reduce emissions in the transport sectors follow the pathway outlined in European legislation, with the Dutch government applying European directives at the national level. Complementarily, a number of fiscal policies are set to contribute to attain EU targets. A tax on CO2 emissions is paid upon the purchase of a new vehicle, granting lower costs for low-consuming vehicles and providing tax exemptions in some cases. Through the Electric Mobility Action Plan 2011-2015 electric cars emitting less than 50gCO2/km are also granted a tax refund.

Electric Mobility Action Plan 2011-2015 available in pdf format: Netherlands_Electric Mobility Action Plan (2011)

Act implementing the biofuels provisions of the Renewable Energy Directive in the Netherlands (2011)

The Act provides that the share of biofuels in the total fuel sales should meet annual targets, set on a yearly basis from 4.25 percent in 2011 to 5.5 percent in 2014.

More information available on CMS Netherlands website


The Netherlands is considered a top performer in terms of waste management practices, and introduced strict regulation for landfilling starting from 1995. A landfill tax that had also been in place since 1995 was repealed in 2012 due to the low volumes of landfilled waste. The approach towards waste is, in order of preference, to prevent, to reuse or to incinerate with energy recovery. Recycling volumes are high and well ahead of European deadlines.

Second National Waste Management Plan (2009)

The Plan sets out the policy for waste management in the country, covering the period 2009-2015 and outlining a 2021 long-term view. The previous Plan set a general framework for waste management in the Netherlands by introducing waste management regulation under a national perspective. The second Plan sets the target of a 60 percent recycling rate for household waste by 2015.

More information available on the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment website


The Netherlands’ profile at the IEA website

The Netherlands Country Profile from the 2015 Global Climate Legislation Study (pdf)

The Netherlands Country Profile from the EEA (2014) (pdf)

The Dutch Government webpage on climate change

International Policy

General features

  • Party to the UNFCCC:

Date of signature: 4 June 1992
Date of ratification: 20 December 1993
Date of entry into force: 21 March 1994

  • Party to the Kyoto Protocol (target: 6 percent burden-sharing reduction between 2008 and 2012 from 1990 levels)

Date of signature: 29 April 1998
Date of ratification: 31 May 2002
Date of entry into force: 16 February 2005

  • Signatory of the Copenhagen Accord

As a EU Member State and Annex-I party to the Kyoto Protocol, the country participates in the EU ETS, the Clean Development Mechanism and the Joint Implementation mechanism. In addition, the country provides financing to developing countries through a series of adaptation and mitigation funds, such as the Climate Investment Funds, the Least Developed Countries Funds and the soon-to-come Green Climate Fund. Climate finance should reach € 1.2 billion by 2020.

Negotiating position

Being part of the EU, the Netherlands follows the last’s position in the UNFCCC climate negotiations.