Denmark at 'significant risk' of missing 2030 emissions target: Climate Council

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Denmark at 'significant risk' of missing 2030 emissions target: Climate Council
The Climate Council's chair Peter Møllgaard (centre), deputy chair Jette Bredahl Jacobsen (left) and Niels Buus Kristensen at a press conference announcing its conclusions on February 28th. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Denmark's climate council has warned of "a significant risk" of the country missing its 2030 emissions goal and has outlined six actions the government could take to put it on track.


The Danish Council on Climate Change in its 2023 status report said that while it was positive that the last government had presented a roadmap on how it hoped to reach the 70 percent target, it was likely that many of its proposals would not generate the hoped-for emissions reductions. 

"We emphasize that the effort must show that the goal can be reached with a certain degree of certainty, and that the certainty must increase the closer we get to 2030," Peter Møllgaard, the council's chair, said in a press release. "There is currently not enough certainty that the government's plan will come true." 


The council was set up under the 2019 climate law to monitor successive governments' progress towards reaching Denmark's target of a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse emissions by 2030. 

In cited three reasons why Denmark was not yet on track to meet the target: that the planned reductions in emissions from agriculture were "uncertain", that the hike in the carbon tax brought in under the green tax reform was insufficient to deliver the promised emissions reductions from industry, and that Denmark's carbon capture and storage projects might not be running at the hoped for scale by 2030. 

"Both electricity production and the heating for our buildings must be largely fossil-free by 2030, and industry must have cut more than half of its emissions. Significant reductions are also needed in agriculture. There is a long way to go, and there is still a need for all parts of society to contribute," Møllgaard said. 

Denmark's climate and energy minister, Lars Aagaard, told the broadcaster TV2  that he was "completely convinced" that the 70 percent target would be met in 2030. 

"I feel convinced that we will reach the goal. That is not the same as saying that it is easy. But we have the political will to reach the goal; we are a majority government; and we will achieve it," he said. "There are lots of measures that need to be implemented. Of course, the work is not done. But we will reach the 70 percent target."


Among the measures the council proposes should be enacted before 2025 are a higher tax on diesel, a carbon tax on agriculture, a carbon tax on industry before 2025, acceleration of the restoration of peatlands and wetlands, and making temporary energy saving measures of the past few months permanent, with lower temperatures in public buildings and less outdoor lighting.

In the mid-term, the council proposes empowering councils to make it compulsory for houses or businesses to connect to district heating networks, a passenger tax on air travel, a tax on goods that lead to the deterioration or clearing of forests, and a lower climate footprint for the consumption of food.

Municipalities and other public sector organisations should also seek to serve climate friendly food, and the government should tax food that harms the climate, the council said. 


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