PM: Time to get serious on climate change

Helle Thorning-Schmidt told a sustainability conference on Wednesday that it's time for action on climate change but she later added that it was doubtful that European leaders would agree on ambitious climate targets.

PM: Time to get serious on climate change
At a sustainability conference in Copenhagen, the PM stressed the need to act on climate change. Photo: Keld Navntoft/Scanpix
Speaking to an audience of more than 750 Sustainability Science experts, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt told delegates on Wednesday about the recent flooding of her house.
She said this brought home to her that it was time to move beyond the question of whether climate change was happening and to refocus on what should be done about it.
The prime minister said that Denmark has worked hard to provide conditions to encourage the green energy technology sector, resulting in a tripling of green energy exports which now represent more than 10 percent of the nation's total exports. 
"People in Denmark understand that there is a cost for climate action, such as higher environmental taxes and increased recycling," she said.
Also in Copenhagen on Wednesday, European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, gave one of her last official speeches before leaving the post next week to make way for a new commission led by Jean-Claude Juncker. Hedegaard said that the European member states had "no excuses for not acting" on finding agreement on the proposed 2030 climate strategy in Brussels by Friday. The proposal from the European Commission includes a target for a 40 percent emission cut compared to 1990 rates but is being resisted by some EU states.
Speaking to parliament's European Affairs Committee on Wednesday, Thorning-Schmidt acknowledged that the Brussels meeting was unlikely to produce results as ambitious as Denmark might like.
"I will say it very honestly: It is quite doubtful that we will get as far as we'd like from the Danish side. And it is not a given that we will reach an agreement on the 2030 package at the top meeting. If we do manage to reach an agreement, it could very well be on lower goals than the Commission has suggested," she told the committee, according to Altinget.
The IARU Sustainability Science Congress is meeting in Copenhagen until Friday and is intended to encourage policy makers to meet to discuss global sustainability issues with a range of different experts.
Joe Turner is a freelance science writer. You can follow him on Twitter at @bucksci.

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How much will it snow in Denmark this weekend?

Winter weather arrived in spectacular fashion to coincide with the beginning of December this week. The weekend could bring more snow to parts of the country but probably less disruption than recent days.

Parts of Denmark have seen heavy snow in early December.
Parts of Denmark have seen heavy snow in early December. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Recent snowstorms disrupted North Jutland in particular and Denmark in general, and more cold weather can be expected this weekend albeit severe, according to forecasts.

“We won’t see the Ragnarok-like weather we’ve seen in some places recently again this weekend, but it’s now winter weather and it has also snowed in several places overnight,” said meteorologist Frank Nielsen of the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI).

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: Early December blizzards disrupt Denmark

Cold weather on Friday and a low front across the North Sea will bring clouds and precipitation across Denmark from the west, Nielsen said.

That will materialise as cold rain or sleet in many areas but probably snow in North Jutland, he said.

“There could be between five and ten centimetres of snow north of the Limfjord,” the meteorologist said, referring to the waterway that cuts across the northern part of Jutland, including main regional city Aalborg.

“In the southern part of the country, an equivalent five to ten centimetres of rain could fall,” he added.

Friday’s temperature will be between freezing point and five degrees Celsius, with the north of the country falling in to the lower end of that range and the south the warmer end.

Mist and fog is forecast this evening, caused by various weather fronts moving over Denmark.

That could still be felt on Saturday morning, though it is likely to be a little warmer at 2-6 degrees Celsius. Mild winds could make that fell chiller, but snow is unlikely.

Sunday will see the temperature drop again, to 0-4 degrees Celsisu. Snow is possible, particularly on eastern coasts.

Strong winds in the east of the country and along the coasts will result in a “rather cold 24 hours,” Nielsen said.

Nighttime temperatures are expected to drop below zero throughout the weekend. Motorists are therefore warned to be alert to icy road surfaces.