Denmark is obliged to switch to zero emissions flights, politicians say

Key allies of Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on Thursday the country must meet a target of switching to zero emissions domestic flights.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and other party leaders speak to media at Copenhagen Airport on January 20th.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and other party leaders speak to media at Copenhagen Airport on January 20th. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

In her New Year’s Day speech, Frederiksen said that the Nordic country would introduce one emissions-free domestic flight in 2025 and that all domestic flights would meet that criterion by 2030.

The prime minister attended a meeting at Copenhagen Airport on Thursday to discuss the matter.

“It’s now certain that there’s financing for this, so we’ll initiate the work as soon as possible. We are moving forward with this now,” Frederiksen told news wire Ritzau.

Representatives from the airport, airline SAS and two of the minority government’s parliamentary allies – the Red Green Alliance and the Socialist People’s Party – were also present.

“Green transition should impact all parts of society, including aviation, and we are fortunately also hearing this today,” lead political spokesperson with the former party, Mai Villadsen, told Ritzau.

Pia Olsen Dyhr, leader of the Socialist People’s Party, called switching to green flights a “mandatory assignment” for Denmark.

The primary task in switching to zero emissions flights is fuelling the aircraft. This could be possible using Power-to-X technology, a storage and conversion technology for electricity.

The aviation sector must be given the right incentive to make the switch to zero emissions, according to University of Southern Denmark professor Henrik Wenzel in previous comments to Ritzau.

“This is simply all about finding a model by which a climate tax can be applied to flight tickets,” he said earlier in January.

READ ALSO: Denmark aims for all domestic flights to be green by 2030

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Why Denmark’s bees are becoming a rarer sight

Several species of insect are declining in Denmark, with bees notably reduced in number compared to years past.

Why Denmark’s bees are becoming a rarer sight

As many as 56 species of bee – one in five of the insects in the wild – is in danger of disappearing from Denmark’s nature, according to the World Wildlife Fund, WWF.

35 of the bee species are categorised as endangered or critically endangered, while 21 are “vulnerable”. 19 can already no longer be found in Denmark.

“One thing is that wild bees live their lives, reproduce and are prey for animals like birds and thereby form part of the food chain. Another thing is that they pollinate our wild flowers and in part our crops, along with many other insects,” Thor Hjarsen, senior biologist with WWF, told news wire Ritzau.

Denmark has around 300 different species of bee altogether.

Part of the cause of their decline is the removal of many of their natural habitats from urban and agricultural areas. Some fertilizers are meanwhile poisonous to the insects.

Bees and butterflies, both important pollinators, are among the most endangered species in Denmark, an expert said.

“The bees represent a loss of diversity. There are some bees and butterflies we simply don’t see anymore in our nature,” Rasmus Ernjæs, a biodiversity researcher at Aarhus University, told Ritzau.

Hjarsen said the loss of bees represented a potential problem for food security.

“The important role played by bees in the ecosystem and our food production is at the core of this problem,” he said.

The senior biologist called for more wild habitats to be created to help bees make a comeback.

“But if you make a habitat in your garden or local park they will actually come back there too,” he said.