The small nation of Denmark is punching beyond its weight with regard to carbon emission regulation. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen highlighted the country’s climate leadership in an annual speech at the beginning of the year. Among the plans and actions:
- a target of reducing emissions 70% by 2030
- a goal of making domestic air travel fossil fuel free by 2030
- plans to introduce a “new and ambitious” carbon tax for companies operating in the country. A carbon tax has been in place since 1992 and applies to distributors and importers of fossil fuel – equating to approximately 35% of the country’s total emissions. Companies covered by the EU ETS are exempt from the carbon tax, except for district heating and waste incineration plants. Also, certain energy-intensive industries, including international aviation and international shipping, export of the fuels covered, modes of transportation and power and heat production are partially exempt. (Side note: if you haven’t seen the World Bank Carbon Pricing Dashboard, check it out. It is very useful. Make sure you take a spin through the GHG Emission Coverage and Price pages.)
One thing that caught my eye was that the Prime Minister said “When other countries in the world are too slow, then Denmark must take the lead and raise the bar even more.”
I can’t help but wonder if these actions by Denmark will:
- inspire the EU to make more aggressive climate policy decisions, and sooner; or
- foster a national-level competitive spirit among the EU nations, spurring mo’ bettah (an American colloquialism for “improved”) carbon policy initiatives, and sooner than any EU action; or
- have no impact on anything outside of the country’s borders.
More for us to keep an eye on.