Denmark can achieve the targets set by the EU for CO2 reduction by 2030 with relative ease, and should therefore set itself more ambitious targets, said the council, reports newspaper Dagbladet Information.
The council argues that not setting the high enough targets would increase the cost of converting to a fossil-free society in the long term.
The council presented its recommendations prior to a forthcoming climate and energy agreement focussing on Denmark’s obligations relating to the Paris climate agreement.
In order to meet the targets set by Paris, EU member states must meet targets for emissions reduction in so-called non-quota sectors such as transport and agriculture, writes Dagbladet Information.
Denmark must reduce its total emissions by 39 percent compared with 2005 levels.
According to the country’s ministry for energy, this is the equivalent of cutting 13.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions between 2021 and 2030.
That does not represent a huge or unachievable amount, argues the Danish Council on Climate Change.
“It is important to emphasise that the numbers are calculated based on no new policies or programmes being implemented when the current ones expire [in 2021],” Peter Birch Sørensen, chairperson with the council, told Dagbladet Information.
The calculations are very conservative since new policies would likely reduce emissions even further, Sørensen said.
“[Required reductions] are only four percent of existing emissions, without further initiatives or obligations. That can hardly be called dramatic,” he added.
In fact, the target is so modest that Denmark’s current conversion to green energy would slow down if it chose to merely stick to the current targets, argues the organisation, which called for Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s government to set itself more demanding targets.
Sørensen said that, should Denmark not exceed its 2030 target, the rate of green conversion would have to be increased significantly after 2030 in order to reach the final target of complete fossil fuel independence by 2050.
But a steady rate of conversion to green fuel until 2050 was not the only reason to adjust targets now, he added.
As well as inherent uncertainty in the energy ministry’s calculations rendering a margin of error necessary, the Danish government should also expect the EU to change its targets for 2030, according to the report.
The Paris agreement, signed by 197 countries and ratified by 146, aims to limit global temperature increase to a maximum of 2°C and as close to 1.5°C as possible.
But this target can only be reached if all countries, including EU member states, regularly adjust their individual targets upwards.
“We can already begin planning for this,” Sørensen said.