The climate initiative in Denmark

The Danish government's climate policy is subject to EU targets of reducing greenhouse gas emissions for 2020 and 2030. The long-term objective of the government is for Denmark to be a net-zero emission society in 2050.

The Danish climate initiative up to 2020

As an EU Member State, Denmark has adopted greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and non-ETS sectors.. The EU ETS includes the energy sector and the most energy-intensive companies in the EU. Non-ETS sectors include transport, agriculture, buildings, and waste. In relation to the Effort Sharing Decision for non-ETS sectors, Denmark has committed to a 20% reduction in national greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to 2005 base levels.

Denmark is expected to surpass the emissions reduction target for the non-ETS sectors by 2020 and to further reduce emissions by 12.5 million CO2 equivalents. It is expected, however, that Denmark under-achieves its annual intermediate objective of 2020. This under-achievement does not, however, challenge the total target achievement given the fact that it can under-achieve the sub-targets one year, if it is correspondingly over-achieved another year.

Emissions from the ETS sectors are adjusted at EU level by means of the quota system. Consequently, Denmark does not have a national target for the ETS sector. Denmark is significantly above the EU average as far as ETS reduction of emissions is concerned, and this trend is expected to further improve up to 2020.

Denmark is expected to achieve a 40% emissions reduction in the ETS sector by 2020, compared to 2005 base levels. The EU is anticipated to achieve an average of 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Danish climate initiative up to 2030

In 2014, EU leaders adopted the 2030 climate and energy framework. The framework sets three main targets:

  1. A 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 base levels.
  2. A 27% share of renewables within the energy sector
  3. A 27% improvement in energy efficiency

The 2030 framework contains a binding 40% reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions within the EU by 2030, compared to 1990 base levels.

To achieve the target in a cost  efficient manner, the EU ETS sectors are required to reduce emissions by 43 % by 2030, compared to 2005 base levels. Non-ETS parts of the economy are required to reduce emissions by 30 % by 2030, compared to 2005 base levels. This ambitious target will provide a working framework for  Danish climate policy.

As part of the 2030 climate and energy framework, Denmark strives to go even further than the 27% renewables target. Denmark has set an ambitious target that 50 % of the nation’s energy demand will be covered by renewable energy by 2030.

As part of the implementation of the 2030 framework, the EU Commission published a proposal on 20 July 2016 outlining bindinggreenhouse gas emission reductions for Member States from 2021-2030. The Effort Sharing Regulation covers non-ETS parts of the economy and aims for a 30 % emissions reduction by 2030, compared to 2005 base levels. Each Member State must set national reduction targets of greenhouse gas emissions within a 0-40% range to be achieved by 2030. A 39% reduction target by 2030 has been set for Denmark.

The government's 2050 target                

The government's ambition is that by 2050 Denmark will be a net-zero emission society, meaning that we absorb at least as much greenhouse gas as we emit.

To fulfill the policy objectives sustainable transitions of energy supply and the transport sector are necessary and must be based on renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar energy, biofuels and thermal energy. A reduction of the consumption of fossil fuels in the energy supply for electricity, heating, industrial processing and transport is contingent upon considerable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The government's ambition is an important contribution to fulfil the EU’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % by 2050, compared to 1990 base levels. The transition to renewable energy systems and increasing global demand for green technologies will contribute to economic growth, job creation and further strengthening of the leadership position of Danish companies in the fields of energy, climate and environmental technology.

The Danish Law on climate

The law on climate was passed on 11 June 2014 by a majority consisting of the Social Democratic Party, Radikale Venstre (the Danish Social-Liberal Party), Socialistisk Folkeparti (the Danish Socialist People's Party), Enhedslisten (the Unity List) and Konservativt Folkeparti (the Conservative People's Party).

The law on climate establishes a strategic framework for Denmark's climate policy to transition Denmark to a low-emission society by 2050. Denmark’s climate policy aims for a resource efficient society with a renewable based energy supply and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors. 

Contents of the law:

  1. Establishment of an independent and expert based Climate Council.
  2. Annual climate political report submission to the parliament.
  3. Process of setting national climate targets.