ABC News Online, 25 February 2011
Britain and Denmark have called on fellow European Union members to adopt a more ambitious target for cutting carbon emissions.
The British and Danish governments want to move to a 30 per cent cut by 2020. Their call comes as EU states are considering whether to move faster than the 20 per cent reduction from the 1990 level.
A draft paper showed earlier this month that the EU is overhauling its strategy in favour of a 25 percent cut.
EU governments have agreed to deepen cuts to 30 percent but only if a strong global climate deal is reached which would also bind developing countries to a similar goal.
"Denmark and the UK are in agreement that our future prosperity depends on stimulating green growth and getting off the oil hook," British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne and Danish Minister for Climate and Energy Lykke Friis said in a joint statement.
"Decarbonising further, faster, can keep Europe ahead in the global low carbon race, but the UK and Denmark can't do that alone," the ministers said.
They said the Commission's 2050 roadmap should kickstart a debate that would put EU members on a path to more low-carbon investment and take Europe "beyond the cul-de-sac that is the current 20 percent cut target."
The ministers said Britain and Denmark are working on plans to decarbonise their energy supplies and support green innovation.
Denmark said it was time for the EU to abandon its position of supporting deeper cuts only if other countries made a similar pledge.
"The EU should unilaterally set a goal of reducing its CO2 emissions 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said in a statement.
Denmark, the world leader in wind power, rolled out a plan today to wean itself off coal, oil and natural gas by 2050.
The government's energy strategy 2050 calls for Denmark to boost renewables' share of the nation's energy consumption to one third of the total over the next decade by developing wind power, biomass and biogas.
The strategy calls for wind power to cover 42 per cent of Denmark's electricity need in 2020 - up from 20 per cent today - and for more than 60 per cent of total power consumption to be covered by renewable energy by then.
It calls for the country to cut consumption of coal, oil and gas over the next 40 years at four times the speed that it has reduced the use of fossil fuels in the past.