The Klimarådet climate council has warned that Denmark is unlikely to fulfil its goal of becoming CO2-neutral by 2050 unless the public make major lifestyle changes.
People must fly less, eat less meat, and consume fewer meat and animal products such as eggs and milk, warns the chair of the council, Peter Møllgaard.
More research needed
“In the area of agriculture in particular there is a high degree of uncertainty,” he said. “We must set some research and development in motion now, so we are able to implement its findings after 2030.”
The council would like to see the Danish government use surcharges on CO2 emissions as a tool, but cautions it would not be desirable if the surcharges merely moved the emissions problem elsewhere.
Premature death toll
The will amongst the public for rapid change is certainly there. In April, a survey revealed that 62 percent would like to see diesel vehicles forbidden in city centres over the next three to years.
According to Professor Ole Hertel at Institut for Miljøvidenskab, traffic pollution is responsible for 1,000 premature deaths every year in Denmark – out of around 3,000-4,000 fatalities caused by pollution.
Driverless bus pilot
Better incentives to use electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles are needed, Hertel told TV2, and he will be pleased to learn that the Autonomous Mobility company has applied to the Vejdirektoratet transport authority for permission to run up to four driverless electric buses in Østerbro.
The buses, which are part of a European four-year pilot scheme and free for the public to use, will follow a 1.3 km circuit around the new Århusgade quarter in Nordhavn between 10:00 and 18:00.
Over the next four years, the AVENUE-project will test buses in Copenhagen, Geneva, Lyon and Luxembourg.
Law targets old vehicles
The state is making progress, but not as quickly as the public would like. Earlier this month it passed a law enabling the tightening up of environmental zones to stop older diesel-powered lorries, buses and vans from entering a number of Danish cities unless they have a particle filter fitted.
The law singles out Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Aarhus, Odense and Aalborg, leaving it up to the cities themselves to decide whether or not to implement the enhanced zones. If fully implemented, the measure could reduce soot particle emissions by up to 25 percent.
Additionally, the government wants to make it more difficult for people to get around the new regulations. A digital control system will be introduced that reads vehicle number-plates automatically to minimise inconvenience caused to commercial traffic by physical zone boundaries.
Focus on Paris goals
In other related news, a group of 20 Danish municipalities across the country are joining together in a project called DK2020 to put impetus behind achieving the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement.
A new recycling centre built from recycled concrete has opened in Sydhavn to enable the city and its residents to radically improve the way they dispose of unwanted household items. Some of the materials will be sold.
And a Eurostat report reveals that 20 of the 28 EU member countries managed to reduce their CO2 emissions during 2018. Denmark only finished 18th with a 0.2 percent reduction – a long way behind to top dogs Portugal, Bulgaria and Ireland, while bringing up the rear was Latvia.