When Denmark hosts the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) this December, it may well be with poor results to show for themselves.
Denmark is one of three of the EU-15 (the 15 countries which were members of the EU in 1997) which will not be able to live up to its Kyoto-obligations in the period 2008-12. That is the conclusion of a report, released February 9, by the green think-tank CONCITO. With the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen from December 7 – 18, it could be considered problematic for the host country to be in breach of a protocol involving the majority of countries to be in attendance.
The EU produces around 22% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and has agreed to a cut, on average, of 8% from 1990 emission levels. Denmark has committed to reducing its emissions by 21%. An amount, that both the European Environment Agency (EEA) and now CONCITO declare, they will not reach in the allotted time. The EEA comments that alongside Spain and Italy, Denmark will not reduce their CO2-emission by the percentages they are supposed to.
“Our report ‘trends and projections’ assesses the current and projected progress of EU Member States towards their respective targets under the Kyoto Protocol and of progress towards the EU target for 2020,” Òscar Romero i Sánchez, Press Officer for the EEA states.
“This is based on their past greenhouse gas emissions, and the projected greenhouse gas emissions of these countries during the Kyoto commitment period and for 2020, derived from data and related information they provided before June 1, 2008.”
Though the EEA’s report confirms that Denmark will have reduced their CO2 emission to a level 12 % below base-year emissions, it would not be sufficient for Denmark to meet its emission reduction goal.
Buying the solution
The Ministry of Climate and Energy and the Danish Energy Agency both disagree with the findings of the EEA report from October last year, and the relatively recent report commissioned by CONCITO. They state that the reports are somewhat faulty, being based on older numbers and statistics. According to these institutions, if you include the purchase of 3,2 mil. tons of carbon credits as suggested in the Danish national allocation plan, Denmark will be able to reach their burden-sharing target before 2012, contrary to what other reports might indicate.
Not untrue, Martin Lidegaard, Chairman of CONCITO agrees, but comments further:
“That Denmark may be able to reach their goal is a possibility in theory, but we would have to buy CO2-quotas from other countries to do so, and that is not really a permanent solution and should not be counted on as an answer to the matter,” he said.
“Even though I would not consider the possibility of other countries looking down their noses at us overly, it would definitely look better, if the host-nation of the COP15 showed that they believe in the cause.”
The report was commissioned by CONCITO and done by an independent consultant firm, concluding that it is uncertain whether Denmark can fulfill its Kyoto obligations.
According to the latest press-release from the Danish Energy Agency, recent projections show that the Danish Kyoto-goal seems to be satisfied by the initiatives already decided upon. As all projections, this is somewhat with uncertain, especially in connection with, for example, economical growth and energy-prices. The Danish Energy Agency will therefore follow developments and expects to publish the next projection late March, 2009.
February 9, CONCITO – a Danish environmental think-tank – published a report from the independent consulent-firm Pöyry with an assessment of the projections and methods for the fulfillment of Denmark’s Kyoto obligations 2008-2012.
Following this publication, there’s been debate about whether there is a clear enough distinction between the quota covered and non-quota covered sector in this method.
As a result, a new assessment, based on the latest projections and with a clearer distinction between the quota and non-quota covered sector was made and published the February 17th. This re-assesment (in Danish) can be found here.
This new assessment also states that there are uncertainties about the goals outside the quota covered sector wit the current initiatives.
By Thorsten Weitling