Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen argues Denmark can play a steering role in delivering low carbon air travel over the coming decade and beyond
Denmark’s Prime Minister has pledged to make all internal flights “completely green” by 2030, arguing the Scandinavian country could play a pioneering role in the shift towards zero-emission air travel.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced the ambition in her New Year’s address to Danish citizens on Saturday, noting that achieving sustainable domestic aviation would be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
“Will it be difficult?” she said. “Yes. Can it be done? Yes, I think so. We’re already on it. Talented researchers and businesses are working on solutions. If we succeed, it will be a green breakthrough. Not just for Denmark, but the whole world.”
Frederiksen said the government would also work to ensure that all Danes would have the opportunity to fly green on a domestic route by 2025.
“To travel is to live, and that is why we fly,” she said. “But, at the same time, it is harmful to our climate. Imagine if Denmark could help solve that problem. We need to make flying green.”
The new pledge puts Denmark among a small pool of countries that have set explicit goals for reducing fossil fuelled aviation. Sweden has similarly pledged to make its domestic flights fossil fuel free by the end of the decade, and international flights ‘green’ by 2045, while France has pledged to ban domestic flights in cases where the same journey can made by train in less than two and a half hours.
It remains to be seen whether such an ambitious deadline can be met, with many of the technologies required to decarbonise aviation yet to be commercialised.
While the aviation sector has seen a slew of 2050 net zero targets announced by airlines in recent years, the majority of decarbonisation strategies unveiled are focused on minimising emissions in the near-term through carbon offsetting schemes, improvements in aircraft efficiency, and increased use of sustainable aviation fuels that can be mixed with conventional jet fuel.
Various forms of hydrogen and electric technologies have been successfully tested on smaller planes, but they have yet to enter commercial use, and remain far from providng a solution for larger, longer haul flights at present.
Elsewhere in her speech, meanwhile, Frederiksen also confirmed that 2022 would be the year where Demark would decide on a “new and ambitious” carbon tax for polluting companies.
“The Danish principle is that those with the widest shoulders should carry the greatest burden,” she said. “This must also apply in the green transition: If you emit CO2 – then you have to pay. That is the most reasonable thing. When other countries in the world are too slow. Then Denmark must take the lead. And raise the bar even more.”