News in Digest: Hardly green with envy anymore – The Post

News in Digest: Hardly green with envy anymore

The one-time poster boy for zero emissions is burning more fossil fuels than last year and increasing in temperature at twice the speed of most other countries

Denmark is going to need a bigger thermometer (photo: Pixabay)
April 15th, 2019 6:00 pm| by Christian Wenande

Denmark’s green credentials have taken a double blow over the last week.

Century in a cauldron
Firstly, it has been confirmed that over the past 20 years Denmark has seen a temperature increase twice as high as the rest of the planet.

Its 1.20-degree increase over the past two decades is way higher than the global average of 0.52 degrees, according to figures released by the Climatic Research Unit and the Hadley Centre in the UK.

Some 13 of Denmark’s 20 warmest years have been in the 21st century, while 2018 was its second warmest since records began. Norway, Sweden and Canada have also seen similar increases.

The confirmation came as Copenhagen played host to the first ever Climate and SDGs Synergy Conference.

More CO2 than in 2017
And then, just days later, the Energistyrelsen national energy agency released figures showing that the country consumed more energy and emitted more CO2 last year, compared to 2017.

The amount of energy consumed in Denmark rose by 0.2 percent, while CO2 emissions increased by 1.3 percent, as coal consumption rose by 1.9 percent (compared to a 25.5 percent decrease in 2017) due to there being less wind.

The consumption of oil and sustainable energy also increased, while it declined for natural gas. Nevertheless, Denmark produced less oil and natural gas, and more sustainable energy.

Birch season starts
The unseasonably warm weather has already resulted in the dreaded birch pollen season starting earlier than normal.

Should the sunshine continue, warned Astma-Allergi Danmark, we can expect high counts following record levels of alder and hazel this spring.

About 1 million Danes suffer from a pollen allergy, and about 51 percent of those sufferers are allergic to birch pollen – so around 500,000. For first-time sufferers, it can feel like getting the flu.

Ticks with a vengeance
And there’s more bad news on the tick invasion, which is already going strong thanks to all the rain in March: there were four cases of the potentially lethal disease Tick-Borne Encephalitis (TBE) last year.

According to the State Serum Institute (SSI), cases were recorded twice on Bornholm and for the first time in Funen and Jutland. TBE is normally rare; between 2015 and 2017 there were only two cases.

About a third of those infected sustain serious inflammation of the brain, which can lead to permanent damage.