This Scandinavian country is leading the path to net zero.
Across Europe, countries are racing towards a common goal: averting the climate and nature crises.
Varied resources, political leadership and wealth mean the path to net zero looks different for everyone. But looking at the most positive examples on the continent can help inspire and pressure our own countries to follow suit.
Last month, we celebrated Albania’s decision to protect one of its most precious features, the Vjosa River, by declaring it a national park.
This month, we’re honing in on Denmark for its continued role as a green leader in the EU.
Here’s why Denmark is our Green country of the month for April.
Denmark is a leader in renewables use and emissions reductions
It should come as no surprise that Denmark is on our radar as one of Europe’s greenest countries.
The Scandinavian nation is a consistent frontrunner in rankings like the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) and Yale’s Environmental Performance Index.
Last year Denmark had the highest share of renewables - more than 60 per cent- in its electricity mix out of 78 different countries studied according to a new report from energy think tank Ember.
The country has committed to reducing its emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels - a far more ambitious target than the EU’s goal of 55 per cent.
And it's not resting on its laurels.
What other positive environmental projects does Denmark have in the pipeline?
Denmark has plans to double its offshore wind area and increase capacity almost fivefold, providing green electricity equivalent to over 10 million homes.
Last month, the country also announced that it is working on a cross-border pipeline to supply Germany with green hydrogen by 2028.
And Denmark’s spirit of collaboration goes far beyond Europe’s borders.
It is one of just a few countries to have passed a UN target to give 0.7 per cent of gross national income in foreign aid to help poor countries battle climate change.
In 2022, it became the first country to pledge funds to developing countries for ‘loss and damage’, committing 100 million DKK (€13.5 million) to the cause.
This year Denmark is also helping India cleanse the polluted Ganges river through a water purification project.
Where is Denmark falling behind?
Of course, no nation is perfect. Despite its strong climate credentials, Denmark will still struggle to limit global warming to the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target, according to the CCPI.
An April report by British think tank New Economics Foundations offers a more positive outlook. It placed Denmark among four countries - including Ireland, Sweden and Latvia - that are financially on track to stay within the target.
A 2023 report by the Danish Council on Climate Change also raised concerns about the country’s 2030 target with agricultural emissions of particular concern.
However, these could soon be targeted by a new emissions tax, similar to the CO2 tax Denmark began imposing on carbon-heavy industries last June. A proposed levy on air travel could further limit emissions.
The report also questioned whether the country is relying too heavily on carbon capture and storage to meet its targets, as this technology may not be running at scale by 2030.
The country’s new government, formed in December, seems unfazed, having brought forward the country’s net-zero target from 2050 to 2045.
Honourable mentions go to…
There have been plenty of other positive environmental stories from Europe this month.
The Dutch government announced it would spend €28 billion in the coming years to guarantee it would meet its 2030 climate goals.
The British public turned out in their thousands to advocate for our planet and hold their government accountable at The Big One climate protest.
And Luxembourg presented bold new climate plans with the support of its citizens.
What is Euronews Green's country of the month?
Euronews Green is highlighting European countries that are advocating for climate, nature and the environment. Each month, we select a country that stands out for anything from eco-innovations to policy change.
If you’re feeling encouraged by a European government-led initiative in May - please do reach out to us on social media, either on Instagram or Twitter.