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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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ENVIRONMENT

Why Denmark’s bees are becoming a rarer sight

Several species of insect are declining in Denmark, with bees notably reduced in number compared to years past.

Why Denmark’s bees are becoming a rarer sight

As many as 56 species of bee – one in five of the insects in the wild – is in danger of disappearing from Denmark’s nature, according to the World Wildlife Fund, WWF.

35 of the bee species are categorised as endangered or critically endangered, while 21 are “vulnerable”. 19 can already no longer be found in Denmark.

“One thing is that wild bees live their lives, reproduce and are prey for animals like birds and thereby form part of the food chain. Another thing is that they pollinate our wild flowers and in part our crops, along with many other insects,” Thor Hjarsen, senior biologist with WWF, told news wire Ritzau.

Denmark has around 300 different species of bee altogether.

Part of the cause of their decline is the removal of many of their natural habitats from urban and agricultural areas. Some fertilizers are meanwhile poisonous to the insects.

Bees and butterflies, both important pollinators, are among the most endangered species in Denmark, an expert said.

“The bees represent a loss of diversity. There are some bees and butterflies we simply don’t see anymore in our nature,” Rasmus Ernjæs, a biodiversity researcher at Aarhus University, told Ritzau.

Hjarsen said the loss of bees represented a potential problem for food security.

“The important role played by bees in the ecosystem and our food production is at the core of this problem,” he said.

The senior biologist called for more wild habitats to be created to help bees make a comeback.

“But if you make a habitat in your garden or local park they will actually come back there too,” he said.

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