Denmark has simply taken a big step to guide the world on addressing local weather change. The nation introduced that it’ll section out all oil and gasoline exploration contracts within the North Sea by 2050. It’s the primary main oil-producing nation to take such a giant step.
Following a December Three vote, the Danish parliament has issued a near-total ban on firms receiving new licenses to hunt for and extract oil. The settlement may even cancel an eighth spherical of licensing that was set to happen. Licenses that had been issued earlier than the vote can be honored till 2050.
“We’re the European Union’s largest oil producer and this resolution will subsequently resonate world wide,” Danish local weather minister Dan Jorgensen said on Thursday.
The transfer to finish oil and gasoline contracts by 2050 just isn’t going to be low cost because it’s estimated to cost Denmark $2.1 billion, however the nation seems able to foot the invoice. “It’s a troublesome resolution, it’s an costly resolution, nevertheless it’s the best resolution,” Jorgensen told the Washington Put up.
Denmark has been extracting oil and gasoline from the North Sea since 1972. Tax income from oil and gasoline manufacturing has tremendously benefited its financial system, serving to to construct the Danish welfare state that takes care of its residents throughout their lifetimes.
However ending oil and gasoline extraction and exploration, consultants say, is the one manner Denmark can meet the European Union’s local weather pledge. In October, the European Union voted to chop greenhouse gasoline emissions by 60 p.c from 1990s ranges by 2030.
The choice, which handed overwhelmingly, elevated the bloc’s pledge to the 2016 Paris Agreement, signaling Europe’s severe dedication to ending the local weather emergency.
Denmark’s plans put the nation in keeping with regional targets.
“It’s taking a measure that may most likely be certain that Denmark can meet this purpose throughout the EU of decreasing emissions to the purpose the place they’ll pursue carbon neutrality by 2050,” Wil Burns, professor and co-director of the Institute for Carbon Elimination Legislation & Coverage at American College, advised me. “And that is the one manner they may effectuate that.”
The vote additionally got here as a result of elevated stress at dwelling. Copenhagen, the Danish capital metropolis, introduced plans in late 2019 to develop into the primary carbon-neutral capital on the planet, attaining net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.
And as Reuters reported in June, the Danish Council on Climate Change, an impartial physique that advises Denmark’s authorities, known as for an finish to grease and gasoline actions to salvage the credibility of Denmark as a frontrunner within the struggle towards local weather change.
“A Danish halt for additional exploration within the North Sea might ship a powerful sign in worldwide local weather politics and will even encourage different nations to observe swimsuit,” the council mentioned on the time.
The worldwide environmental activist group Greenpeace expressed their help for the choice on Twitter, heralding the transfer as a “landmark resolution.”
Historic WIN for local weather & folks energy! In landmark resolution, oil producer Denmark ends future licensing rounds for oil and gasoline exploration permits within the North Sea and units present manufacturing to run out no later than 2050. Now, extra nations want to finish oil! pic.twitter.com/NyUg4CtsCb
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) December 4, 2020
Ending oil manufacturing by 2050 has been welcomed — and criticized
The transfer was additionally hailed by EU authorities officers together with Finnish Minister of the Atmosphere and Local weather Krista Mikkonen, who applauded the choice by way of Twitter saying that the world wants extra leaders on local weather change.
Another environmental teams had been additionally comfortable. “This can be a big victory for the local weather motion,” Helene Hagel of Greenpeace Denmark said in an announcement. She added that Denmark has “an ethical obligation to finish the seek for new oil to ship a transparent sign that the world can and should act to fulfill the Paris Settlement and mitigate the local weather disaster.”
Swedish local weather activist Greta Thunberg was far much less impressed, although, tweeting that the choice means Denmark will proceed extracting oil and gasoline for an additional 30 years.
The true information right here is that Denmark will apparently go on extracting fossil fuels for an additional Three a long time.
To us kids, this isn’t the “excellent news” that some folks appear to assume.
We’re in a local weather emergency. Act accordingly.https://t.co/3ywKQNQXA0
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) December 4, 2020
Denmark’s resolution exhibits that Paris and regional and nationwide commitments to decreasing emissions are beginning to have some actual influence — and that’s good.
Because the top oil producer within the European Union, Denmark’s transfer is critical, however different oil producing nations should take the same pledge if there’s any hope of attaining the Paris Settlement’s goal of limiting warming to 2 levels Celsius.
“You’re going to wish loads of different nations, particularly main oil and gasoline producers, to step up,” Burns advised me. “Norway and the UK each really feel pressured to stay leaders on pursuing the local weather agenda.”
Whereas the UK and Norway are each main oil-producing nations and positioned outdoors the EU, the need to guide on local weather change might push the nations to strengthen commitments.
On December 3, the UK introduced ambitious plans to chop emissions by 68 p.c in comparison with 1990 ranges by 2030. A report additionally calls on UK oil and gas firms to phase out production in the North Sea and make the transition to renewable vitality sources. Peer stress might additionally assist additional pave the best way.
Neighboring Norway, Burns famous, is a a lot bigger producer of fossil fuels, so a dedication to finish oil and gasoline extraction could be a way more dramatic step for that nation to take.
“If the US, this yr or subsequent yr, begins to return as a optimistic power on local weather, that together with measures like this one from Denmark may put stress on different nations to take action,” Burns mentioned.