Updated 12/05/2020 at 4:50 PM
Denmark decided to end all oil and gas extraction activities in the North Sea by 2050 and canceled its latest round of licenses, saying the country “now it is ending the era of fossil fuels. “
Denmark has been an early adopter of wind power, with more than a third of its electricity production derived from wind turbines. They are seen as key in the transformation of the energy system and should allow Denmark to stop relying on fossil fuels by 2050 for electricity production.
The Danish Parliament voted this week to end offshore oil and gas extraction, which began in 1972 and made the country the largest producer in the European Union. Norway and Great Britain, which are not members of the EU, are more important producers, with a greater presence in the North Sea.
Denmark is expected to extract just over 100,000 barrels of crude oil and oil equivalents per day this year, according to the government.
That is relatively little in a global context. The United Kingdom produces about ten times that amount, while the United States, the world’s largest producer, extracted more than 19 million barrels of oil a day last year. Nonetheless, environmental activists said the move was significant as it shows the way forward in the fight against climate change.
Greenpeace called it “a historic decision towards the necessary elimination of fossil fuels.”
“This is a great victory for the climate movement”said Helene Hagel of the Greenpeace delegation in Denmark. He added that the European nation has “the moral obligation to end the search for new oil to send a clear signal that the world can and must act to comply with the Paris Agreement and mitigate the climate crisis ”.
The landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement calls on rich and poor countries to take action to curb rising global temperatures, which is melting glaciers, raising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns. It requires governments to come up with national plans to reduce emissions to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).