Denmark has taken another important step in its shift to a green economy.  Earlier this month, the Danish parliament agreed to cancel licenses for oil and gas drilling and phase out all fossil fuel production by 2050. Parliament also committed to a just transition for affected areas and workers.

“When the calendar reads 2050, the oil and gas valves will be turned off for good,” said Climate, Energy and Utilities Minister Dan Jørgensen,“We intend to show what an ambitious yet balanced phase-out of fossil fuel production might look like, taking into account both the urgency of climate change and the very real concerns of workers employed in the fossil sector.” Denmark already sources half its electricity from wind.

And how does this relate to Canada? Encouraging, but we face rather more of a challenge. While Denmark is the largest oil producer in the European Union, it is small relative to this country. Per capita, our oil production is about four times theirs and provides about 6.5 times as many jobs. You might say our challenge is four to six times as great as Denmark’s.

Nonetheless, it has to be done. Oil and gas is our largest carbon polluter by economic sector. We have committed to phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2030 and created a task force to examine how to fairly provide for coal workers. Now is the time to add oil and gas to the list. Denmark has set the example.

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