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Oil Change lauds Denmark’s plan to end North Sea oil and gas exploration

Reactions have trailed the Danish Government’s announcement that it will end all new oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, as part of a broader plan to phase out fossil fuel extraction by 2050.

Mette Frederiksen
Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister of Denmark

Nearly half a century after the country first started production, the Danish parliament agreed late on Thursday, December 3, 2020 to cancel its latest licensing round and all future tenders, which grant companies the right to search for and produce oil and gas.

Denmark has repeatedly put itself forward as a global leader in climate diplomacy, and has already announced some of the world’s most ambitious carbon targets. The country aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70 per cent by 2030 and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 

“We will now follow a different path,” Dan Jorgensen, Danish minister for climate, energy and utilities, told the Financial Times in an interview. “It wouldn’t be in line with our ambition to be climate neutral in 2050 to still explore, produce and sell fossil fuels.”

In a reaction to the development, Hannah McKinnon of Oil Change International responded: “Denmark’s announcement marks a bold milestone on the way to a phase-out of North Sea oil production. This is a clear signal that climate leadership means an end to fossil fuel expansion and the start of a just transition and managed decline of all production.

“The announcement that Denmark will end all production by 2050 makes them the first significant producer to announce a phase-out of all oil and gas production. This is a move that should be celebrated, built on, and accelerated. Wealthy, diversified economies like Denmark must act even faster to wind down oil and gas production, whilst supporting affected workers and communities and countries where the transition will be more challenging.

“Next, it will be critical to ensure that the details are airtight and that there are no loopholes for the fossil fuel industry to exploit.

“2021 must kick off a decade of unprecedented ambition and we look forward to Denmark and other leaders leveraging their national actions into international momentum towards a 1.5ºC-aligned wind down of oil and gas production.”

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