Quitting Carbon: How Denmark Is Leading the Clean Energy Transition and Winning the Race to the Low-Carbon Future Kindle Edition
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top Customer Reviews
In the 1970s, Denmark was shaken after Arab OPEC members announced an oil embargo and thus turned to conservation efforts such as research on energy efficiency and clean energy. Although the oil shocks in the United States led to conservation practices that were eventually abandoned when cheap oil returned, clean energy efforts in Denmark grew. Denmark identified the harm in once enabling imported oil to account for 94% of its energy consumption and embarked on a journey to stop this crippling practice to decrease its carbon footprint (12). The beginning of Denmark’s energy transition was mainly focused on ensuring energy security. However, political leaders soon switched the focus to renewable energy and efficiency. In 1985, the government created a grant program to cover 30% of the initial capital cost to install wind turbines, leading to the construction of 450 megawatts of combined heat and power (CHP) plants that burned natural gas, straw, wood chips, and waste (14).
In 1992, Denmark launched a carbon tax on fossil fuel consumption and the next year introduced a standard offer contract that made investing in wind power more appealing by offering developers an above-market return over a fixed period (14). The Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy, established by the government in 2008, devised a plan detailing how Denmark could rid itself from fossil fuels by 2050. Gerdes notes that the agreement calls for a 12% reduction of gross energy consumption by 2020. The three-part strategy includes ensuring strong transmission connections with neighboring countries, ensuring the roll out of smart meters to all households and industries, and establishing dynamic tariffs. In addition, the Danish Government established a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 through the Climate Change Policy and created the Climate Change Act, which created a framework to guide Denmark’s decarbonization (21).
Onshore wind is currently the cheapest power source available in Denmark. In order to encourage new wind projects and temper local opposition, a tactic is used to turn residents into wind energy investors. Investors share costs, revenue, and risk on an equal footing with the wind project developer (25). This practice thus enables the people to profit off of clean energy policies and consequently builds a win-win situation: citizen profit and country decarbonization. Another huge factor adding to the clean energy movement are multiple companies such as Danfoss, an industrial company that specializes in energy efficiency solutions. This includes district heating systems and space heating, air-conditioning components, pumps, compressors, fans for electric motors, and solar inverters. Other companies such as Haldor Topsoe and Grundfos also aim at cutting carbon footprint and largely focus on growth opportunities overseas (43).
Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, is a huge model in the clean energy initiative. This city has called for a push toward carbon neutrality through the mass use of bicycles and state-of-the-art facilities using waste heat from power plants. In the upcoming years, Copenhagen plans on replacing coal with biomass, adding more wind and solar electricity to the grid, upgrading energy-guzzling buildings, and luring even more residents onto bikes and public transit (44). Copenhagen has already made a lot of progress thus far, reducing its emissions by 31% from 2005 to 2014. The cleaner forms of transportation will soon be helping around 125,000 additional Copenhagen residents that commute from home to work everyday (57). Gerde notes that Copenhagen is not the only source making the clean energy transition. He notes “Project Zero”, initiated in Sonderborg, as a development aimed at becoming carbon-neutral by 2029. The city of Dronninglund has also created the largest solar district heating plant in the world.
Throughout the book, Gerde offers a very compelling and enticing story of Denmark’s transition to clean energy practices. His straightforward and clear writing enables the reader to absorb a vast amount of information in a short period of time. I personally enjoyed the book because it notes a specific case in which decarbonization is actually working and benefitting a country and the world as a whole. This makes reading the story inspirational and highly influential in the upcoming years regarding energy sources. Denmark is thus the epitome of sustainability in a world that has not completely jumped on board the clean energy train. Gerde’s explanation of the world’s dependency on cheap, plentiful coal, oil, and natural gas prompts the reader to question the dynamics of such codependency. To provide a greener tomorrow, Denmark must be looked at as a serious model providing the world with strategies on how to decarbonize and revitalize clean energy instead of fossil energy. Gerde’s book offers the idea that an advanced economy can grow even when the energy consumption remains flat and clean energy is enacted. Eliminating fossil fuels and quitting carbon is the key to a healthier planet, and Denmark is already one large step ahead of the game.
In his first chapter, titled “A Climate of Consensus,” Gerdes covers the initial shift towards energy efficiency. Denmark began by seeking alternatives to slowly replace oil. After the oil shocks in the 1970’s, Denmark began their transition to renewable energy. 1991 marked the year the first wind farm was created off the shore of Denmark. In 1994, there was a biomass agreement in which Denmark hastened to shift away from coal. They began to set many goals in the years to come such as reducing carbon emissions by 20% by the year 2005.
“Mighty Exporters,” the second chapter in Gerdes’s book discusses some of Denmark's largest companies as well as their leaders like Danfoss, Haldor Topsoe, and Grundfos. Their policies of these major companies have allowed green growth, clean energy targets through the year 2050, and entrepreneurs to invest with confidence. Privately held firms with long-term visions also aggressively pursue export opportunities, leading to the economic success of these companies.
“Copenhagen: The Carbon-Neutral Capital” discusses the plans, challenges and solutions that led to the carbon-neutral capital. Their goal, was to of course lessen their carbon emissions, but they faced challenges along the way. The addition of new residents, great emissions from transportation, and the renovation of multiple buildings created challenges for Denmark. But they were prepared with solutions. The offshore turbines were added to more locations off-shore and the transportation emissions were lessened by the expansion of a bicycle infrastructure.
“Beacons Beyond Copenhagen” also discusses the multiple attempts to creating a fossil fuel-free Denmark. While some companies focus on reusing, others focus on improving. Billund Biorefinery has converted sewage and wastewater into biogas, and Solar District Heating has made improvements to electrical heating pumps, vehicles, and boilers. The availability of jobs that involve a green approach has allowed the citizens of Denmark to have their own interest in becoming carbon free.
Lastly, the chapter titled “Building the Future” ties the whole book together, discussing some of the blemishes and political challenges that have erupted. The problems that Gerdes discuss are the coal residuals, our tendency to eat a great amount of carbon intensive beef, consumerism, the large agriculture industry, and the resource constraint. These blemishes lead to the concern about the deficit and the cuts to the educational system.
Denmark’s carbon dioxide emissions have decreased by 30% since they began to take action towards clean energy. Our political leaders fully support renewable energy and accept that the use of fossil fuels is damaging the environment, but we lack the motivation to walk in Denmark’s direction. By writing “Quitting Carbon,” Justin Gerdes has created a discussion and a demonstration that cleaner energy is possible while maintaining a social, political, and economically stable atmosphere.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Set up an Amazon Giveaway
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering > Energy Production & Extraction
- Books > Science & Math > Earth Sciences > Climatology
- Books > Science & Math > Earth Sciences > Environmental Science
- Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 90 minutes (44-64 pages) > Science & Math
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science & Math > Physics > Energy