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Denmark sets binding 2030 climate target for agriculture

Denmark’s agricultural and forestry sector must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 55-65 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, a majority in the Danish parliament agreed on 4 October.

Continuing business as usual, greenhouse gas emissions by Denmark’s agricultural sector was estimated at roughly 15 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030. With the new agreement, the sector is expected to reduce the emission forecast by 7.4 million tons CO2 and thereby act as a key lever in the government’s overall plan towards reaching 70 per cent reductions by 2030.

“With a binding goal, we ensure that the agricultural sector delivers a historically high reduction and that we focus on plant protein, pyrolysis and organics,” said Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn.

The Danish government has set aside more than €500 million to enable the transition as mandated by the new law under the climate agreement. The largest share is earmarked incentives for adapting to less carbon-dense systems of production.

Related news: New technology can halve agriculture’s climate impact and introduce greener air travel

Plant-based food production to drive down emissions

As part of the new climate agreement, the Danish Government earmarks more than €150 million to advance plant-based foods. The funding is the largest investment in plant-based research and development by any EU country and commits the Danish government to creating a national action plan for plant-based food. Amongst other, Denmark will create a Fund for Plant-based Food Products and a five-year Plant-based Eco-scheme to support product development and create incentives for farmers who grow plant-based protein crops.

Acacia Smith, policy manager at the Good Food Institute Europe:

“With this announcement, Denmark has recognised the huge potential of sustainable proteins to drive down agricultural emissions, and established itself as Europe’s biggest public investor in plant-based innovation. 

“As they prepare for COP26, governments around the world should be factoring plant-based and cultivated meat into their climate plans. If they are serious about meeting the Paris Agreement and building strong, green economies, they must follow Denmark’s lead and invest in bringing sustainable proteins to consumers’ plates.” 

Rune-Christoffer Dragsdahl, Secretary General of the Vegetarian Society of Denmark:

“It is groundbreaking that we will have a national action plan for plant-based foods with specific objectives, and that Denmark will invest more than 1 billion kroner in this area. This is one of the largest amounts that any country has invested in plant-based development.

Read the agreement in full length here (in Danish)

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