When China announced at the outset of the month that it would commit 320 billion kroner to cutting air pollution by 2015, Danish officials saw an opportunity to get in on the action.
The trade minister, Pia Olsen Dyhr (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said that if China wants to successfully reach its goals, it should look no further than Denmark for inspiration and, yes, investment.
Dyhr told Politiken newspaper that despite China's tendency to buy Chinese
, Denmark has a real opportunity to help China along the way to its green goals.
"We have, with our growth market strategy for China, put an emphasis on the importance of a good and close dialogue between the the authorities in China and Denmark, so that we can help Danish business make inroads [into China]," Dyhr told the paper.
One Danish company Politiken pointed to as having success cashing in on China's efforts is catalyst company Haldor Topsøe, which provided catalytic converters to buses used during the 2008 Olympic Games and has helped Chinese diesel motor producers comply to the country's sharpened environmental requirements.
Other Danish companies would be well-advised to market their environmental know-how to China, according to Dyhr.
"Denmark has the technological solutions to increase energy efficiency and reduce air pollution – filters, catalysers, effective cauldrons and well-functioning district heating systems," Dyhr told Politiken newspaper. "And many abroad have had their eyes opened in recent years to what Denmark can do in this particular area."
Dyhr's position was backed by the climate minister, Martin Lidegaard (Radikale), who was recently in China to meet with government officials and leaders in the energy sector.
"Even though we are a small country, we can really make a difference," Lidegaard told Politiken. "We have experience and knowledge that is sought after by the Chinese authorities – we can build sustainably, carry out energy renovations and deliver energy-efficient building materials."
China's recently-announced pollution goals aim to cut the level of harmful particles in 117 cities by a minimum of five percent by 2015.