Port of Rotterdam’s carbon emissions fall faster than national average


During the period 2016-2020, the Port of Rotterdam reduced its total carbon emissions by 27%. Nationally, the volume of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere fell 14% over the same period.

In 2020 Rotterdam achieved a 12% reduction in emissions, compared to 8% in the Netherlands as a whole. As a result of this rapid decline, companies in the Port of Rotterdam are currently responsible for 13.5% of the Netherlands‘ total carbon emissions: a share which was 16% several years ago.

The port’s total volume of emissions combines those released by industrial production (refineries, chemical companies) and electricity production (gas and coal-fired power stations).

Last year, Rotterdam’s power plants reduced their carbon emissions by 1.9 million tonnes (21%) in percentage equivalent to the national figure. While part of this reduction can be attributed to lower energy consumption, this is mainly due to a substantial increase (over 40%) nationwide in the production of electricity from renewable sources (solar , wind and biomass). A milestone in 2020 was that for the first time, Rotterdam’s natural gas-fired power plants released more carbon into the atmosphere than their coal-fired counterparts.

Carbon emissions from Rotterdam’s industrial sector fell by 1.1 million tonnes (7%), while nationwide industrial emissions remained at the same level. This reduction in industrial emissions is a consequence of the economic contraction during 2020. This decrease has led to a drop in demand for petroleum and chemical products, forcing local industry to reduce its activities.

In 1990, the port of Rotterdam released more than 20 million tonnes of CO2 in the air. Until 2016, this volume increased to over 30 million tonnes due to the expansion of existing businesses in Rotterdam and the arrival of new ones. From 2016, the port was able to report substantial reductions. In 2020, emissions were close to the total volume recorded 30 years ago, while at the same time the port area increased by 20% and the annual flow by around 50%.

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