The Danish Experience in Energy Efficiency, Sustainability and Independence
On April 20, 2010, Soren Jensen, deputy chief of mission for the Royal Danish Embassy visited Northampton Community College to share his presentation called Energy Security and Climate Change: COP15 (Conferences of the Parties) and Beyond: The Danish Experience in Energy Efficiency, Sustainability and Independence. He spoke about current climate change, goals, and how Demark has been a leader is reducing emissions and creating clean energy.
Jensen began his presentation by talking about climate changes happening with the increases in the temperature causing the green house effect. He added that a June 2009 report stated that climate changes are already seen with heavy down pours, storm, flooding and a 2 degree rise in temperature every 10 years. He quoted scientist as saying global warming is happening and humans are contributing to it and that we need to reduce emissions by 50%. They have set a goal of 20-40% percent reduction by the year 2020.
Jensen then went on to speak about recent meetings around the world with up to 192 nations but they were unable to agree on solutions due to China not being willing to bind to the goals, and the United States needing legislation to agree although the European Union could and is committed to reducing emissions. The first two countries are necessary due to they have the larger shares of emissions released. They also need support from both the developed and the developing countries but the developing countries are more relied on old technology and use it to provide basic services like heath care.
Denmark seems to have become a real leader with advancements on reducing emissions and creating green energies. They have been independent from foreign energy for 30-40 years due to their policies and have managed to grow the economy 75 percent with the same amount of energy used 25 years ago. Since 1900 they reduced emission by 14 percent and the economy grew by 40 percent. They reached this by mandating energy saving for businesses, high taxes on energy use and promoting home energy consumption savings. He mentioned that 50 percent of the average household electric bill is taxes that were raised 40 percent from 1997 to 2007 but they were able to lower income taxes. They also rely on renewable energy sources like wind and have a goal of 30 percent of energy used to be from wind farms by 2020. They have a waste management plan that uses no more landfills with 55 percent of waste being recycled and the rest incinerated and used for energy like district heating/combined heat and power that is 90 percent efficient compared to under 40 percent efficiency in the United States. They still rely on coal for half of their electricity.
Jensen closed his presentation by stating that Denmark plans to stay the most energy efficient and 100 percent independent from foreign energy. They want to focus on a better and clean environment, growth and export of green jobs to 10 percent of their exports to keep at or under their current rate of unemployment of 4 percent and a growing economy. They plan to remain the happiest people in the word.
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