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ENVIRONMENT

‘Help make us greener’: Danish rail operator to passengers

National rail operator DSB is looking to its customers to help the company offer more sustainable train services in the future.

'Help make us greener': Danish rail operator to passengers
Suggestions do not necessarily have to involve planting lawns in train gangways. Photo: DSB

The state-owned company is Denmark's largest provider of public transport, with over half a million people using its services every day.

Until June 11th, DSB is running a competition asking for ideas on how it can offer more sustainable and environmentally friendly service.

There are four themes for inspiration.

The first of these is sustainable behaviour which will encourage more people to use train services rather than cars or planes. This can be anything from developing new technologies, products or campaigns to change transport habits.

DSB is also looking for suggestions on how it best can use the resources it already has. The company also wants to hear about new technological innovations to improve sustainability. Finally, DSB is keen to hear how it can work in partnership with others to fulfil sustainability goals.

The rail operator has already made commitments to work towards the UN Global Compact but wants to do more.

“Trains are already climate-friendly but here at DSB we want to do more and we are looking for ideas from our customers as to how we can be a better part of the solution,” head of communications Niels-Otto Fisker said.

“We want to get a conversation started with our customers about how we can offer more sustainable services in the future and work towards our goals as part of the UN Global Compact.

“Internally, we are also working on ambitious strategic ideas and implementing plans to introduce new electric locomotives and electrifying major routes. However, we know that more minds thinking of solutions can only be a positive thing. We want to take as many good ideas from the public as we can,” Fisker explained.

The competition is divided into three age categories and the company is particularly keen to hear from young people who are under the voting age but who have some of the strongest opinions on the environment and climate.

DSB hopes to be able to implement the best ideas over realistic timescales.

The winning idea from each age category will receive a one month’s first-class tour of Europe for two people.

You can submit your ideas on DSB’s website until June 11th.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen's new Metro line delayed until September

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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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