Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Denmark.
In 2019 Denmark implemented climate action into its political infrastructure by passing the legally binding Climate Act which aims to reduce GHG emissions by 70% by 2030 (compared to 1990 emission levels). The Climate Act mandates decarbonizing all sectors, including agriculture, transportation, and energy, and is a step on their way toward their 2050 net-zero emissions goal. As part of the act, Danish government established the Committee for the Green Transformation to ensure that sustainability remains a core aspect of all future political decisions, and the government will review and assess their climate trajectory annually to ensure they are on track and constantly innovating.
In addition to the Climate Act, Denmark has successfully halved their CO2 emissions since their peak in 1996 by significantly reducing the use of coal to just 13% in 2019 (down from 49% in 2009), and replacing it with cleaner sources of energy such as wind and solar power.
In fact, Denmark is a leader in wind power, a clean alternative to coal and nuclear power. Denmark currently generates almost half of its energy (47%) from wind, and is expected to reach the 50% mark by 2021. They have plans to expand and add to their existing wind farms by 2030, and also invest in more solar power farms too.
- Denmark was the first country is the world to set a target of becoming independent of fossil fuels by 2050
- Copenhagen is aiming to become the first carbon neutral city by 2025
- Denmark is a leader in low impact transportation, home to almost twice as many bicycles than cars thanks to the extensive network of bicycle infrastructure that allows for easy and sustainable transportation.
- Between 2012 and 2017, green sector employment increased four times as much as private sector employment.
* Our Energy ranking considers emission intensity (units of energy per unit of GDP). When one or both are low enough to make their influence negligible on a global scale, the country is left out of the ranking
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.