Denmark to reduce agricultural emissions by 7.1 million tons by 2030

DENMARK – Denmark’s ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries has presented proposals aimed at reducing the country’s agricultural emissions by 7.1 million tons by 2030. 

According to GAIN, the proposals were drawn up by the Danish government in close collaboration with the Danish food and agriculture sector, which has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. 

Known as the Climate Action Plan for Agriculture, the new plan contains concrete actions to reduce CO2 emissions from agriculture including investment in green technologies and a partial ban on farming on peat soil, through which carbon is being released.  

When it comes to bolstering adoption of green technologies, the plan proposes a 700 million kroner ($114 million) boost in public investments in research and innovation for biogas fuels and other technologies.  

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The main highlight of the proposals however is a commitment to achieve a 7.1-million-ton reduction in CO2 emissions from agriculture. 

According to the proposal, 5 million tons out of the 7.1 targeted will be reduced via new technologies, such as pyrolysis that can convert livestock manure and straw into sustainable fuel. 

1.6 million tons will, on the other hand, be reduced via what is being referred to as yet existing instruments, such as afforestation and removing at least 88,500 hectares of the most climate-damaging lowland soils (that emit CO2) from production and converting them to nature.  

 Demark hopes to cover the balance of 0.5 million tons through “agreements that have already been concluded.” 

In addition, the Danish government aims to reduce nitrogen emissions from agriculture by 10,400 tons by 2027, increase support for organic agriculture, and make active use of EU funds to ensure a green transition within the agricultural sector.  

The Danish government further plans to revisit the Climate Action Plan in 2023/2024, to ensure the sector is on the right track to meet Denmark’s ambitions. 

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Making agriculture more sustainable will certainly have a significant on Denmark’s overall carbon footprint as roughly 62 percent of the country’s land area is being used for agriculture.  

Danish agriculture is also responsible for roughly one-fifth of Denmark’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, 1 equivalent to roughly 15.6 million tons, making any significant reduction to have a great overall impact. 

Although ambitious and well meaning, leading Danish experts have raised their concerns over the plan’s practicability. 

In particular, the reliance on a five-million-ton CO2 reduction on provisional technologies, such as the conversion of manure and silage into biofuels has been questioned by various experts.  

Additional experts, particularly academics, criticized the government’s plan to reduce agricultural sector CO2 emissions, calling it “too slow” and “unrealistic”.  

In response to the varying reactions to the government’s action plan, Minister of Agriculture, Rasmus Prehn, told the press: “{s}ome people say that our plan lacks ambition, three leading researchers say it is too ambitious. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between.”  

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