Denmark Slammed by Watchdog for Falling Short on Carbon Goal

Denmark is far from reaching its ambitious target for carbon emission reductions by 2030, underscoring the need for new measures soon to get back on track, the country’s climate watchdog said in its annual review of climate policies.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has pledged to reduce Denmark’s emissions by 70% before 2030 compared with the 1990 level, going beyond the 55% target agreed to by member states in the European Union. Despite new initiatives and landmark decisions, Denmark is still falling short of its objective and the government has so far failed to illustrate how the 2030 target can be achieved, the climate council said.

“There is at this time meaningful uncertainty and a lack of clarity about the road the government wants Denmark to follow toward the 70% in 2030,” the council said in its report. “Therefore it is important that the government swiftly establish more concrete plans and processes for how the remaining reduction need is realized.”

Denmark made several decisions in 2020, including an agreement to cease oil exploration in the North Sea by 2050. Without new measures before 2030, Denmark is projected to reduce emissions by 54%, up from 45% at this time last year.

The council urged the government to present detailed plans for cutting emissions in all industrial sectors and to launch a national strategy for carbon capture and storage. Other recommendations include a high and uniform emissions tax and a sub-target for reductions by 2025.

In October, the government said reaching the 2030 target could cost as much as 24 billion kroner ($3.9 billion), about 1% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2030, according to the latest forecasts.

The government is already working on implementing some of the council’s recommendations, including a national strategy for carbon capture and storage, Climate and Energy Minister Dan Jorgensen said.

“In a year-and-a-half we have solved about a third of the task, which we have 10 years to solve,” Jorgensen said in an emailed statement. “That is a big step in the right direction but we are still far from our goal.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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