Warnings to reduce fossil fuel use

By CHRIS GRAEME [email protected]

One of the masterminds behind Denmark’s energy strategy for the next forty years issued a strong warning last week that governments no longer had the option of to ignore climate change.

Katherine Richardson from Danish Energy Strategy 2050 said there was now “no alternative” to reducing fossil fuel dependence and switching over to sustainable green sources of energy such as biomass, solar and wind power.

Katherine Richardson was speaking at the opening of the week-long GREENFEST ’11, which took place in Estoril between September 28 and October 2.

The specialist, who was the key guest speaker, quoted a Danish banker’s saying “never miss the opportunity of a good crisis” meaning that the world economic and financial crisis which started in 2008 could end up being the motor for a lasting and more sustainable energy paradigm.

“The current crisis may provide us with the impetus to act now rather than later. We have to create green growth, jobs, technology, and innovation, if we delay then the Chinese will capitalise on these issues,” she warned.

Mrs Richardson is a key adviser and policy maker to Danish Energy Strategy 2050 which takes a bold step towards the Danish government’s goal of achieving independence from coal, oil and natural gas by that date.

She said that the Commission on Climate Policy Change showed with its report in 2010 that a full transition away from fossil fuels was possible and Denmark, currently a petroleum net exporter, is moving to changing its policy towards that goal.

Demark, like Portugal, is a leader in the drive towards alternative fossil-free fuels and its capital Copenhagen is the world’s first ‘0 Carbon City’.

The strategy is the first of its kind in Denmark and the world. Not only does it outline the political instruments that will make Denmark a greener and more sustainable environment but it also seeks to turn green energy into a competitive and viable business proposition that can be exported around the world.

The strategy presents a number of initiatives, which in the short term will significantly reduce Danish dependency on fossil fuels. In the next 10 years until 2020 the strategy aims to reduce fossil fuels in the energy sector by 33% and reduce gross energy consumption by six per cent.

Mrs Richardson warned that anyone who now doubted the realities of climate change either within or outside the scientific community had been countered by irrefutable evidence to the contrary.

She said that switching over to renewable energy sources was “not just a dream but a real possibility and that there was a road map.

“Portugal is one of the leaders in this field and the leading countries should work together,” she added, saying that there were grounds for optimism.

“These days everybody has a gut feeling about climate change and there hasn’t been such a controversial and shocking concept which has so shaken society since Darwin published his book The Origin of the Species in 1859,” she said.

Katherine Richardson warned that the demand for resources worldwide was now approaching supply and that there was “good scientific evidence to prove all that was happening.”

“We have finite resources and we just can’t keep using them this way. There are now seven billion people living on this planet and our use of resources will prove the biggest challenge mankind has ever known,” she said.