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ENVIRONMENT

Copenhagen’s public transport to get greener with new electric buses

41 new electric buses will come along at once in Copenhagen in 2019 as two routes in the Danish capital switch from diesel to electric power.

Copenhagen’s public transport to get greener with new electric buses
File photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix

Operating company Movia has confirmed that route 2A, along with route 18, which will see a return to service after previously being discontinued, will be served by electric buses, newspaper Politiken reports.

Copenhagen Municipality has set a target of switching all of the city’s buses to electric power by 2030.

“We are working very hard in Copenhagen to replace all of the existing buses with green alternatives as soon as possible, so Copenhageners can breathe deeply and easily without having to worry about their health,” Lord Mayor Frank Jensen said in a press statement.

Movia’s CEO Dorthe Nøhr Pedersen also expressed enthusiasm for the green conversion strategy.

“Movia will now have contracts with three different authorities for the operation of electric buses, and we are very pleased to see more operators join the green agenda,” Pedersen told Politiken.

Henrik Gudmundsson, senior researcher with Concito, an independent Danish thinktank concerned with increasing awareness of climate change and solutions, praised the decision but said more could be done.

“This is positive, and the way Copenhagen and other cities should be moving,” Gudmundsson told Politiken.

“Pollution from buses constitutes only a small part of the overall pollution, so much more must be done before Copenhageners can breathe deeply and easily without worrying about their health,” he added in reference to Jensen’s comment.

Carbon dioxide pollution from buses makes up around seven percent of total carbon dioxide poisoning from traffic in Copenhagen, and around ten percent with regard to particle pollution, according to the climate researcher.

“The biggest polluters are private vehicles and trucks and vans. Buses are not insignificant, but it is equally important and, in fact, more important to do something about private vehicles, trucks and vans,” he told Politiken, while stressing that the announcement by Movia was nevertheless “good news”.

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ENVIRONMENT

‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.

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