Denmark

   

Environmental Policies

#3
Key Findings
With highly ambitious targets for phasing out fossil-fuel use, Denmark falls into the top ranks worldwide (rank 3) with regard to environmental policies. Its score in this area has improved by 0.5 points relative to 2014.

Climate policy in particular is a strength, with increasing focus on whether current policies are sufficiently ambitious. The renewable-energy share is 23% on a consumption basis. Direct emissions have fallen by 20% since the 1990s, though this masks a rise in imports from less CO2-friendly countries.

National goals target fossil-fuel-free energy production by 2050. All current parliamentary parties have approved an agreement pushing for 100% of electricity to be produced renewably by 2030. A new climate plan would phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and earlier for buses and taxis.

The country plays an active role in shaping international environmental regimes, working through the EU, the UN and other bodies. Civil society actively puts pressure on politicians to act in this area both domestically and internationally.

Environment

#2

How effectively does environmental policy protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment?

10
 9

Environmental policy effectively protects, preserves and enhances the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 8
 7
 6


Environmental policy largely protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 5
 4
 3


Environmental policy insufficiently protects and preserves the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
 2
 1

Environmental policy has largely failed to protect and preserve the sustainability of natural resources and quality of the environment.
Environmental Policy
9
Denmark is considered to be a front-runner in environmental policy. According to the 2018 Climate Change Performance Index of the Climate Action Network Europe, Denmark ranked 17 out of 178 countries. Agriculture’s contribution to ground and water pollution has occasionally become a political issue in Denmark.

Denmark is doing relatively well when it comes to renewable energy, as 23% of energy consumption is renewable, which puts Denmark in eighth place among OECD countries. Water usage is relatively low in Denmark compared to other OECD countries.

While carbon dioxide emissions measured on the basis of Danish production have been reduced by about 20% since the mid-1990s, the reduction is only about 5% when measured in terms of consumption. Hence, while Danish production has become more carbon dioxide friendly this is largely mitigated by imports from countries where production is less carbon dioxide-friendly. Measured in terms of production Denmark has emissions per capita that rank it eighth highest in the OECD and measured in terms of consumption seventh highest.

Denmark has set rather ambitious goals including that energy production should be fossil free by 2050. Several sub-targets have been set to reach this goal. While the long-term goal is for Denmark to be independent of fossil fuels by 2050, the government has also called for green realism in environmental policy and there are signs that some environmental goals will be softened.

In June 2018, all parties in the Folketing approved an energy agreement, which aims to have 100% of Danish electricity produced by renewable sources by 2030 . Concretely, three large offshore windfarms are planned. Taxes on electricity will be reduced for various purposes. Money will also be budgeted for green transport, meaning more electric cars.

It is expected that environmental policy will be an important issue in the upcoming parliamentary elections, which must take place before June 2019. On 9 October 2018, the government put forward a new climate plan with 14 specific proposals, mostly concerning the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars by 2030, and earlier for buses and taxis.

Citations:
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, PRESS STATEMENT, Copenhagen, 25 January 2008 Launch of the Environmental Performance Review of Denmark, By Mr. Lorents Lorentsen, Environment Directorate.

Regeringen, 2017, Energi, forsyning og klima, https://www.regeringen.dk/regeringens-politik-a-%C3%A5/energi-forsyning-og-klima/ (accessed 7 Demceber 2017).

Climate Action Network Europe, “The Climate Change Performance Index. Results 2018,” https://www.germanwatch.org/sites/germanwatch.org/files/publication/20504.pdf (Accessed 2 December 2018).

Rockwool Fondensforskningsenhed, 2014, Measuring Denmark’s CO2 emissions. Copenhagen.

Environmental Performance Index. Country profile: Denmark. http://www.epi.yale.edu/epi/country-profile/denmark (accessed 7 October 2015, re-accessed 23 October 2016).

EU Environmental infringements, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/law/statistics.htm (Accessed 20 October 2017).

Ministry of Environment and Food, Sammen on en grønnere fremtid, https://mfvm.dk/nyheder/nyhed/nyhed/sammen-om-en-groennere-fremtid/ (Accessed 9 October 2018).

“Dansk Energi roser partierne bag ny energiaftale for at tage ansvar og gøre danskernes strøm grønnere og billigere til gavn for både økonomi og samfund.” https://www.danskenergi.dk/nyheder/pressemeddelelse/energiaftale-gor-gronnere-danmark-elektrisk (Accessed 7 November 2018).

Global Environmental Protection

#6

To what extent does the government actively contribute to the design and advancement of global environmental protection regimes?

10
 9

The government actively contributes to international efforts to design and advance global environmental protection regimes. In most cases, it demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, fosters their advancement and initiates appropriate reforms.
 8
 7
 6


The government contributes to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes. It demonstrates commitment to existing regimes and occasionally fosters their advancement or initiates appropriate reforms.
 5
 4
 3


The government demonstrates commitment to existing regimes, but neither fosters their advancement nor initiates appropriate reforms.
 2
 1

The government does not contribute to international efforts to strengthen global environmental protection regimes.
Global Environmental Policy
8
When it comes to international efforts, Denmark is actively promoting environmental protection through the European Union, relevant U.N. bodies and global conferences, including in particular the Conference of the Parties (COP) under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The European Union has become an important international actor in this area with its focus shifting toward global warming, including the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and achievement of a higher energy efficiency. The EU commissioner for climate action (2009 to 2014) was a Dane who had previously been minister for climate and energy in Denmark. Her appointment as commissioner was seen as a recognition of Denmark’s efforts in that area. The current government keeps working for an ambitious climate strategy within the European Union.

There is broad understanding in Denmark that global environmental protection is an international issue. It is a policy area in which civil society is very actively putting pressure on politicians. In domestic policy discussions, there is increasing focus on whether policies are sufficiently ambitious. The government’s target is that 50% of energy consumption will be based on renewable energy by 2030 . Moreover, the government has launched a Partnership for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030 (P4G). A broad agreement reached in parliament implies investment in three new offshore windfarms and lower electricity taxes. Domestically, the most important proposal focuses on phasing out diesel and petrol cars, mentioning that the transport sector is responsible for a quarter of the country’s domestic carbon dioxide emissions.

The P4G, which was initiated by the prime minster, held a summit in Copenhagen in October 2018, with more than 800 participants developing public-private partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Citations:
Danish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2012, EU Environmental Policy, http://eu2012.dk/en/EU-and-the-Presidency/About-EU/Politikomraader/ENV I/Miljoepolitik (accessed 27 April 2013).

“Klimaindsatsen i Danmark,” http://www.kebmin.dk//klima-energi-bygningspolitik/dansk-klima-energi-bygningspolitik/klimaindsatsen-danmark (accessed 19 October 2014).

Web site of Ministry of the Environment: http://mim.dk/ (Accessed 19 October 2014).

“Danmark udpeget som klimaskurk på topmøde i Paris,” https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/indland/danmark-udpeget-som-klimaskurk-paa-topmoede-i-paris (Accessed 23 October 2016).

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s Opening Address to the Folketing on 3 October 2017” http://www.stm.dk/_p_14597.html (accessed 20 October 2017).

Statsministerens tale ved Folketingets åbning, 2. oktober 2018, http://www.stm.dk/_p_14739.html (Accessed 9 October 2018).

P4G Copenhagen Summit 2018: Accelerating partnerships, https://p4gsummit.org/ (Accessed 7 November 2018).
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