Jeers to Denmark for taking glacial steps toward kicking the oil habit

Denmark announced that it will end fossil fuel extraction and while that seems like great news, we can’t help but wonder why the country set a deadline of 2050. By then, it’s effort to reduce global warming could be meaningless.

In short, the planet doesn’t have that much time.

Denmark began oil exploration in the North Sea about 50 years ago and reaped financial rewards from it. The country is the European Union’s biggest oil producer and one of the richest nations in Europe.

And while we applaud efforts to wean the world off fossil fuels, Denmark, which has invested in green energies, has only committed in the short term to stopping any new oil and gas exploration projects. Under its new policy, its existing 55 oil and gas platforms will be allowed to continue extracting fossil fuels for 30 more years.

Rising temperatures are already threatening the health of life on earth, with one million animal species at risk of extinction. A new report in The Lancet points to the immediate dangers of extreme heat, wildlife and pollution and spotlights the need for a rapid shift to green and sustainable energy. The report calls for nations to make drastic reductions in emissions within the next five years.

“The window of opportunity is narrow,” The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change said.

In the past five years, global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have climbed steadily, with a rise in global average temperature of 1-2 degrees Celsius. Heat trapping gasses remain in the atmosphere for decades.

As The New York Times reported: “Scientists have long warned that if greenhouse gases in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million, staving off a warming of 2 degrees Celsius would become far more difficult… above it, the planet is likely locked into a fate of rising sea levels, stronger storms, widespread droughts and heat waves, and mass die-offs of coral reefs.”

With oil demand low from travel limited by the pandemic, the emergency of green energy alternatives and rising and warming seas already upon us, jeers to Denmark for not committing to a more immediate and meaningful fossil fuel ban.