As a response to the Danish government’s energy initiative published last week, the largest party in the country, The Social Democrats, has published its own initiative called “Denmark will once again be a green superpower.”
A Bold Plan
Presenting the report, the chairman of The Social Democrats, Mette Frederiksen, states:
“The Social Democrats proposes a vision where Denmark will be free from fossil fuels as soon as 2045. We won’t wait until 2050, as the goal is today. A vision of a society without plastic and air pollution. A social-democratically led government will make Denmark a green superpower again.”
The report covers energy, environment, and financing. While the government did mention in its report that plans regarding the transportation sector will be published later this summer, the opposition in this case puts the cards on the table right away.
And overall, the ambitions of creating a low-emission society are clearly more aggressive from the opposition party. With the next general election coming no later than June 2019, it seems The Social Democrats are betting this will be an important issue among constituents. I certainly hope so.
Below are examples of what the party proposes will be the agenda, should they achieve government power next year:
A target of 500,000 green cars by 2030 (in contrast to the 12,000 on the roads today vs. 3 million fossil fueled cars). The goal includes electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen cars. The goal will help Denmark reach the ambitious climate targets of the EU and ensure that car manufacturers introduce their electric cars on the Danish market. Five concrete proposals will promote the goal:
— The special low tax on electricity for charging is further extended for all road transport. Thus, electric cars and electric trucks will enjoy the same special low tax rate for electric buses for a long period of time.
— The state finances support new, fast charging stations. To increase the distribution of charging stations, where electric cars can achieve 150 — 350 km of range in ten minutes.
— Company taxation for electric cars and plug-in hybrid cars will be lowered to between 10 — 15%. Like the Dutch and UK models.
— The phase in of registration tax on electric cars is postponed. The next step in the phase in of registration tax on electric cars will otherwise be launched as of 1 January 2019.
— Municipalities shall be entitled to a grant of DKK 10,000 ($1,600) for each electric car or hydrogen car purchased. The proposal is given municipalities as an incentive to choose climate-friendly cars when replacing their fleet.
— Sales ban of new diesel cars from 2030 and phasing out existing diesel cars, with the help of new taxes on diesel cars.
— Ban access to driving with polluting cars in the cities. Evaluate and tighten existing environmental zone rules.
The goal is that the entire electricity consumption in Denmark must be covered by wind, solar, or other renewable energy as soon as 2030 (44% was covered by wind in 2017):
— 3 new offshore wind farms by 2030. With a total of 2.5 — 3 gigawatt (GW) nameplate capacity. With 3 tenders in 2019, 2022, and 2024 (the current government proposes 1 single 0.8 GW farm). Financing of the first park will be subsidized, but the next two are expected to be un-subsidized. Furthermore, a strategy for making the Danish part of the North Sea a Silicon Valley for Offshore wind.
— Annual tenders for wind turbines and solar power of 250 megawatt (MW) from 2020 to 2030. In order to ensure a significant expansion on land where renewable energy is still the cheapest. In addition, more incentives are needed for municipalities and communities to construct renewable energy plants.
— A new supply model for wind and solar energy to provides more renewable energy for the money. The share of wind and solar energy should follow the climate council recommendations. This will ensure far more renewable energy for the money and — in theory — mean that Denmark will receive revenue from renewable energy production.
— New principles for using biomass. The principles must ensure that no new environmentally or socially inappropriate investments in biomass are made.
— Strategy for replacing natural gas with renewable energy. To ensure that the use of natural gas is replaced for both individual heating and for the production of electricity with gas produced from renewable energy.
Many readers of CleanTechnica will probably agree that a society based on rational clean technology will also be an economically sensible society. I mean, Joshua S Hill’s article Health Benefits Of Chinese Climate Goals Could Offset Costs By 2030 makes this crystal clear.
However, there are still some who think the old ways of fossil fueled economics is necessary to maintain a certain standard of living. So, apart from the ordinary systems of taxes, the report describes how a new green investment fund could help to finance the transition:
The creation of a new green investment fund, with an initial government capital injection of DKK 20 billion ($3.2 billion) to the fund, will not affect the existing economic structural balance in government finances. The fund will be politically independent and operate on market terms, where it is expected over time to generate a return that is paid in whole or in part as a dividend. The government capital injection is therefore a financial transaction, without any effect on the public balance.
Well, I am not an expert on economics, but this sounds like a reasonable way to assist the funding of transition to a fossil fuel free society.
In any case, I hope the fight over “who is greener” will be a main issue in the coming elections. It would be a first, and it would be very welcome.