Denmark must lead by example to prevent grim future in IPCC report: climate minister

Denmark must lead by example to prevent grim future in IPCC report: climate minister
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen said the report was "very serious reading". Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard/Ritzau Scanpix
Denmark's contribution to global emissions is tiny, but the country can still make a big contribution if it leads by example, the country's climate minister has said, as a new IPCC report warns that time is running out for the climate.

Speaking at a press conference after the publication of the latest interim report from the International Panel on Climate Change, Jørgensen said that Denmark’s efforts to reach its target of a 70 percent cut in emissions compared to 1990 levels could inspire other countries with greater emissions to take urgent action. 

“We can show other countries that a green transition can be implemented without compromising quality of life and without costing jobs,” he said. 

In addition, we in Denmark, if we push ourselves, will find new solutions. The development of offshore wind farms is a good example, which today is an integral part of climate efforts throughout the world.”

Monday’s report warns that temperatures are likely to rise by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels over the next two decades, exceeding the upper limit targeted by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and leading to extreme weather and widespread human suffering. Only rapid, dramatic reductions in emissions over the next few years can prevent this from happening. 

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I’m concerned. This is very serious reading. If the alarm bells are not already ringing and jangling, they should do so now,” Jørgensen said at the press conference at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense. 

“At around 1.5C, climate change will become so severe in many parts of the world that we will no longer be able to tolerate it. The change will hit poorer parts of the world particularly hard.” 

Denmark emits just 0.1 percent of the world’s total greenhouse gases emissions.

Maria Gjerding, president of the Danish Society for Nature Conservation, told Ritzau that the Danish government was not doing enough, and called for it to bring in a comprehensive national tax on carbon emissions, and to return more of Denmark’s agricultural land to nature. 

“We must have CO2 taxes. It must cost something for companies to emit CO2,” she said. “We must convert agricultural land to nature. Livestock production must be reduced, and we must ensure that agriculture adapts to produce something completely different, much more plant-based food.” 

“It is urgent. It is within the next few years that something must happen. The Danish government must do something now.” 


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