Science - October 12, 2017

Greenhouse horticulture emits less CO2

Albert Sikkema

In 2016, CO2 emissions in Dutch greenhouse horticulture went down again, by 0.2 megatons to 5.6 megatons. This means Dutch horticulturalists are 0.6 megatons below the original climate target for 2020. If they are to meet the new, tougher climate target for 2020, they need to reduce their emissions by a further 1 megaton.


These figures come from Wageningen Economic Research’s Greenhouse Horticulture Energy Monitor 2016. In the period 2010-2016 the total CO2 emissions went down by 2.5 megatons. This was because the area under horticulture has shrunk, horticulturalists sell less electricity, buy in less heating, and produce or buy in more sustainable energy. The continued to save more energy too. Compared with the baseline year, 1990, emissions of greenhouse gases went down by 41 percent, more than the 30 percent drop the sector had agreed on with the government.

The horticulturalists have now agreed to produce even less CO2. To achieve that, the proportion of their energy that is sustainable, which grew by 0.6 percent to 5.5. percent in 2016, needs to go up even more. Greenhouse horticultural companies are investing in geothermal heating, for example, but due to technical problems in geothermal projects, and a drop in new sustainable energy projects, the proportion of sustainable energy in 2016 rose less than expected.

Dutch greenhouse horticulture is an energy producer as well. Through combined heat and power systems, greenhouses produced about 9 billion kilowatt hours of electricity last year, covering 8 percent of the country’s energy consumption.