This figure gives a rough overview of the carbon-emissions caused by transport in The Netherlands, in kg CO2-eq. per average Dutch person per day in 2012 (click on the image to enlarge). You can see that road traffic is responsible for by far the most emissions (5.4 kg). Especially cars contribute a lot (3.45 kg). The average Dutchman in 2012 traveled around 22 km by car. Nearly 8 km of this distance was for work, and 9 km was for recreation and social purposes (including vacations). While the average Dutchman also traveled 2.2 km per day by train, this caused almost negligible emissions.
Air transport also contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, even though cars contribute almost twice as much. The average Dutch person in 2010 traveled roughly 3700 km by plane, which comes down to about 10 km per day, with an emission of around 1.76 kg CO2-eq. per inhabitant per day.
In this figure, transport of goods contributes roughly as much as air transport, around 1.76 kg CO2-eq. per person per day. However, these figures only include road transport of goods within The Netherlands, as well as the use of agricultural vehicles. Because The Netherlands imports many of its consumption goods and resources from abroad, over relatively large distances, we can assume that the actual emissions for transport of consumption goods are many times higher than estimated here.
- The estimates for road traffic emissions (5.4 kg/person/day) and rail traffic (0.015 kg/person/day) in The Netherlands are based on estimates of total CO2, CH4 and N2O emission by traffic and transport in The Netherlands in 2012 (http://www.compendiumvoordeleefomgeving.nl/indicatoren/nl012924-Emissies-naar-lucht-door-verkeer-en-vervoer.html?i=23-69). This has been converted into kg CO2-equivalent using the IPCC conversion factors (25 for CH4 and 296 for N2O). In 2012, The Netherlands had ca. 16.7 million inhabitants.
The estimates of emission from transportation of persons and goods in The Netherlands are based on CBS-estimates of CO2, CH4 and N2O emission by road traffic in The Netherlands in 2012 (http://www.compendiumvoordeleefomgeving.nl/indicatoren/nl013024-Emissies-naar-lucht-door-wegverkeer.html?i=23-69). These figures estimate a somewhat lower emission for road traffic (4.90 kg/person/day) than the total estimates used earlier (5.43 kg/person/day). To be consistent with the total estimates, I converted the emission figures into fractions of the total emission by road traffic: 63.6% for transport of persons and 32.4% for transport of goods. The contributions of vans (13.76%), trucks (5.40%) and tractors (13.20%) were calculated in the same manner.
- The distances and percentages for the different categories were derived from CBS-statistics. I used the distance traveled per person per day in 2012 (21.6 km), and added several smaller categories into the broader categories of work (36%); services and care (6%); social and recreation (41%); shopping (9%) and others (9%).
- To estimate CO2-emission per km, I averaged emission figures for cars sold in The Netherlands over the period 1998 - 2013: 157 g CO2 per km. These figures only include CO2, and will therefore underestimate emissions in CO2-equivalent by about 1%.
- The total estimates of distance traveled per day for cars (22.3 km/person/day) and train (2.22 km/person/day) are based on CBS-statistics from 2012 (CBS/CLO/jan14, i-nl-0024), for both passengers and drivers (http://www.compendiumvoordeleefomgeving.nl/indicatoren/nl0024-Reizigerskilometers-personenvervoer.html?i=15-103).
- PBL estimates the total distance traveled by plane by Dutch people in 2010 at around 61.3 billion km (http://www.pbl.nl/infographic/mobiliteit), or around 3698 km per person, or 10 km per per person per day. The Netherlands had ca. 16.6 million inhabitants in 2010.
- Flights within Europe (700 - 2500 km) emit around 200 g CO2-eq. per km per passenger, intercontinental flights (>2500 km) emit around 147 g CO2-eq. per km per passenger (http://co2emissiefactoren.nl/lijst-emissiefactoren/). I used the average, 0.174 kg CO2-eq. per km per passenger.
- Our estimate of 1.76 kg CO2-eq. per Dutch person per day for air transport in 2010 is almost certainly an underestimate.
Emissions by road traffic in The Netherlands: http://www.compendiumvoordeleefomgeving.nl/indicatoren/nl0130-Emissies-naar-lucht-door-wegverkeer.html?i=23-69