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POLITICS

Denmark aims for all domestic flights to be green by 2030

Denmark's government has set an ambitious target of making all Danish domestic flights green by 2030, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Saturday.

low-angle view of plane during flight
The aviation industry is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Photo by Kevin Woblick on Unsplash

“Will it be difficult? Yes. Can it be done? Yes, I think so. We’re already on it. Talented researchers and businesses are working on solutions,” Frederiksen said in her New Year’s Day address to the nation.

“If we succeed, it will be a green breakthrough. Not just for Denmark, but the whole world. If there’s anything we have learned in recent years when it comes to handling big crises, it’s that we must never hesitate,” she said.

 Frederiksen provided no details about how the lofty goal would be accomplished, but did say her government was open to the introduction of a tax on carbon dioxide gas emissions, after having previously been opposed.

The aviation industry is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, and airlines are developing new and cleaner technologies, including those that reduce fuel use and emissions.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents 290 airlines accounting for 83 percent of global air traffic, in October made a pledge of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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POLITICS

Danish economists say abolition of Great Prayer Day is ‘not necessary’

Leading economists in Denmark say that scrapping the Great Prayer Day holiday is not a necessary measure and that the potential economic benefits for the state are dubious.

Danish economists say abolition of Great Prayer Day is ‘not necessary’

Three economists writing in a column in political media Altinget said there was “nothing necessary” about the plan to scrap Great prayer Day.

“Is it better, then, to cancel the government’s planned tax cuts, to cut public spending or to use the opposition’s alternative proposal?”, write the three economists: Ulrik Beck, senior economist with thinktank Kraka; and Michael Svarer and Hans Jørgen Whitta-Jacobsen, professors in economics at Aarhus and Aalborg universities respectively and both former members of the Danish Economic Councils.

The three economists go on to write that the answer to the question comes down to preferences and priorities.

They state that an opposition plan to raise an annual three billion kroner, the amount the government says the Finance Ministry will raise by scrapping Great Prayer Day, is “a fraction better”.

The three governing parties – the Social Democrats, Liberals (Venstre) and Moderates – want to abolish springtime public holiday Great Prayer Day in a move they say will enable increased defence spending to meet Nato targets by 2030, three years ahead of the current schedule. A bill was tabled by the government earlier in January.

The policy has met with criticism from trade unionsthe church and opposition parties, while the military itself has also distanced itself from the plan.

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In an alternative proposal, the nine opposition parties say they can raise the money by diverting 1.25 billion kroner from the public investment budget, 1 billion kroner from a winter assistance programme which the parties say was over-financed, and savings on business support spending of 0.75 billion kroner.

The three economists write that the opposition proposal could hold back the welfare system in future, however. Additionally, a reduction in business support could harm companies.

Regarding the economic effect of scrapping Great Prayer Day, they state that although this has a potential monetary benefit, it is uncertain.

That is because people working in Denmark could choose to adjust their working hours by taking less overtime or “hours of interest” (interessetimer), they state.

In addition, collective bargaining agreements between trade unions and employers could eventually provide for an extra day off in response to emerging demand for this.

That would negate the effect of scrapping the holiday, the experts said.

READ ALSO: What is a Danish collective bargaining agreement?

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