Denmark aims to be rid of fossil fuels by 2050

September 1, 2014 - 06:30

The Earth's fossil fuels are running out and the planet is heavily burdened by CO2 emission. The Danish government has addressed this by setting an ambitious goal to end dependency on fossil fuels.

There are many alternatives to fossil fuels. State of Green is working to gather the various sectors so they can find a solution together. (Photo: Shutterstock

This article was written by ESOF2014 Future Academy.

By 2050 Denmark must be free of fossil fuels, the Danish government has decided. And this is not an impossible goal, though difficult, because Denmark has the means to actually realise it.

At the Euroscience Open Forum conference (ESOF) in Copenhagen this July the ambition was heavily debated. Future Academy spoke with one of the persons responsible for realising the ambitious goal, Gry Brostrøm of State of Green.

Why should Denmark no longer be dependent on fossil fuels in 2050?

Brostrøm: "The oil crisis in the 1970s made us aware that it is problematic to be dependent on oil" says Brostrøm.

The 1970s oil crisis started during the war between Israel and Egypt and Syria, when the Arab countries started an oil blockade, because of the American support of Israel. Then OPEC, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, decided to reduce their oil production and raise the prices.

"Although the cut was small, the decision resulted in a dramatic price increase," says Brostrøm. "We must find alternative energy sources to avoid a similar situation".

How do you expect to do that?



Facts

This article was written by gymnasium students from the ESOF2014 Future Academy.

The students, Future Communicators, wrote articles and communicated by Twitter and Instagram from the ESOF science conference, where 4,500 scientists including several Nobel Prize-winners participated.

The ESOF Future Academy is a project where young high school students have the opportunity to take part in and carry out various tasks in connection with the ESOF conference.

"There are many different alternatives. State of Green is working to gather the various sectors, so they can prepare a solution together," says Brostrøm.

"You could say that we're dividing the world into various sectors — wind energy, water, other resources, waste management and so on. Together all these sectors must find a solution that can make us independent of fossil fuels," she says. "It's no use simply building a lot of wind turbines. A lot more than that has to be done. There is a palette of different initiatives that we must start".

How far are we in the process?

"What I can say is, that we have so and so many wind turbines, so and so many waste incineration units, so and so many strategies that must work to achieve the set goals, but I don't think anyone knows how far we are. 

When that is said and done, Denmark will never be completely independent of fossil fuels, because as companies like Mærsk, which represents a large part of the Danish industrial sector, can never be completely independent of fossil fuels, she continues.

"A really good example of what we're working towards is found on the island of Samsø: it's a small community, but it is already running completely on green energy," says Brostrøm.

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Read the original story in Danish on Videnskab.dk

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Translated by
Louisa Field

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