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Denmark supports ending fossil fuel cars in EU by 2030

Denmark will work for a phasing-out of diesel and petrol-driven cars and an end to production of new vehicles of this type in the EU by 2030.

Denmark supports ending fossil fuel cars in EU by 2030
File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix

The EU Commission is to present a long-term climate strategy on Wednesday, with Denmark to present its case for ending fossil fuel vehicles at subsequent negotiations between member states.

“We will work for a phasing-out of petrol and diesel cars over time and the end of sale of new models from 2030,” Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt confirmed.

“I will try to bring together like-minded EU countries around this target, which we can hopefully gain support for. It is important to set the bar high,” the minister added.

Lilleholt admitted that convincing Germany to join a green revolution in the automotive industry would be difficult.

“I know it will not be easy. We have very different standpoints and there are big interests in play, not least for car-producing countries,” he said.

“But I also think they have an interest in making tougher demands so that European car makers can take the lead in this area and gain a competitive advantage in relation to other countries,” he added.

The target of ending diesel and petrol car production by 2030 matches that in a domestic climate programme presented by the government earlier this year.

In the programme, the government states it wants one million green cars on Danish roads by 2030.

That target has been criticised for being unrealistic, however.

“It would clearly be much easier to realise our goals if were are able to get an EU objective passed, because we would than avoid a discussion about who must take the first step,” Lilleholt said.

“But I am in no doubt about the direction in which things are moving. And if we can’t get the EU on board now, we’ll have to see what else we can do. The target will be the same,” he said.

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, a Danish politician, revealed a small part of the commission’s programme at a meeting in Copenhagen Monday.

“What we are presenting is a clear obligation in regard to being CO2 neutral by 2050. That is built on the targets that have been ratified for 2030, but does not change them,” she said.

Vestager did not mention transport specifically.

More must be done to achieve long term targets, the commissioner said.

“We will only achieve around 60 percent of the desired reduction if we don’t do more,” she said.

READ ALSO: Danish government boosts electric cars, puts out fireplaces in extensive climate plan 

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Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Denmark's parliament has given the go-ahead to build Lynetteholm, a giant artificial island that will protect Copenhagen's harbour waters from rising sea levels at the same times as providing homes for 35,000 people.

Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen
How the island will look while udner construction. Photo: By og Havn

The bill empowering the government to push ahead with the project passed with a massive majority of 85 in favour and 12 against, opening the way for work to push ahead on the 2.8 square kilometer island early as this autumn.

In a short debate on Friday morning, Thomas Jensen, the Social Democrat MP coordinating the bill, dismissed claims that not enough had been done to assess the environmental consequences of what has been described as the largest construction project in Danish history.

“Of the bills I have helped to implement here in the parliament, this is the one which has been most thoroughly discussed, with expert consultations, technical reviews, and almost 200 questions to the Ministry of Transport, which have been answered by the rapporteurs,” he said. “So in terms of process, it is completely worked out.”

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Ahead of the vote protesters from the Stop Lynetteholm Facebook group staged a protest outside the parliament, with many dressed in Sean the Sheep costumes. 

Protesters dressed as sheep staged a demonstration against the Lynetteholm project outside the parliament. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The parliamentary vote is not the last hurdle.

The project is also being challenged in the European Court of Justice, on the grounds that the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)  have looked at the impact of constructing the island itself, but not of the roads, metro lines, housing and other developments which will go on it.

Lynetteholm is being built partly as a coastal protection project, with a dam that will protect Copenhagen from future storm surges.

The plan was first announced in 2018 by the then Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the then Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen. 

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