Danish model

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Denmark seems to have had greater success than Sweden or many other European countries with introducing cleaner production processes and environmental management systems into industry. For Denmark the problem has been to bring an environmental consciousness to the important agro-industrial corporations, and, even more seriously, to the rural population that, as in other parts of Europe, has come to be affected by an influential populist reaction. Denmark has had a gradual and deep-seated realization that "end-of-pipe" solutions are not sufficient and new approaches that stress a change in productive technology are called for.

Given the perceived limitations of supply of energy sources - further reinforced by the decision to abandon nuclear power as a result of the intense public debate of the 1970s - the Danish government has emphasized the transition to renewable energy sources. On the one hand this led to the establishment and rapid growth of the Danish wind-turbine industry and, on the other hand, to a diversified regulatory framework in the energy sector to encourage energy-efficient technologies. The attention gradually shifted towards identification of solutions that could be integrated earlier on in the cycles of production and consumption. The relative effectiveness of economic incentives in improving the technological and organizational capacity for saving energy has inspired similar initiatives in the environmental field: a move from end-of-pipe solutions to a model that emphasizes preventive solutions including the development and diffusion of cleaner technology. Beginning in 1986, the Danish government has launched a series of major support programs in cleaner technology. Compared to most other European countries, the Danish efforts have been substantial, and have spread the various preventive technical approaches to environmental problems throughout Danish industry (Remmen 1995).

In the first phase, from 1986 to 1989, the effort was concentrated primarily on investigating the potential for cleaner technologies in different branches of the economy, and in conducting demonstration projects in particular firms. The general approach followed similar "national programs" in technology development that had taken place in the 1980s in relation to information technology and biotechnology and that were based on the long-standing Danish emphasis on demonstration projects in technology policy. The second phase of the cleaner technology program, from 1990 to 1992, involved a more active broadening of focus, as well as increased competence-building and information dissemination. Courses were held at engineering colleges and associations, handbooks were written, and special consulting schemes in cleaner technology were established in four particular areas: furniture-making, meat-processing, fish production, and metal-working. At the same time environmental management systems were instituted in a number of small and medium-sized companies with governmental support, and major efforts were made to document experiences with cleaner technology by means of a number of technology assessment projects at the technological universities. From 1993 onwards the efforts have expanded as the environmental administration has adopted a more flexible, interactive, approach, seeking to pass responsibility and policy initiative from the public to the private sector (Remmen 1998).

The new attempts to alleviate the problems of environmental degradation are, to a significant extent, based on a dialog between public and private interests that has characterized Danish approaches from the beginning, and a new ideology of commercialization and the use of market forces in regulation (Andersen 1994). In the political atmosphere that prevailed in Denmark during the 1980s, when the government was usually based on a combination of parties from the center to the right of the political spectrum under the leadership of the Conservative Party, there was a strong leaning towards liberal economic policies and indirect instruments of regulation, that is, small government. Even in areas where the government was unable to secure a majority of votes in the Parliament for its policies - as the case was for much of the environmental legislation which was dominated by the so-called "green majority" (social liberals, social democrats, and two left-wing parties) - the subsequent implementation of policies tended to be framed in the manner of indirect regulation.

The actual administration of policies that related to environmental science and technology was typical of an economic policy culture and paid more attention to ensuring the cooperation or even the promotion of business interests, for instance in connection with the growth of the environmental consulting engineering firms and the establishment of a competitive industry for the production and exports of wind turbines. In fact the case of the wind-turbine industry in Denmark illustrates the extent to which a combination of innovative policies, local industrial en-trepreneurship, and a set of priorities evolving from the political pressure of public debate can contribute to the shaping of new technologies (J0rgensen and Karnoe 1995).

This shift in awareness and attention to a wider economic perspective was reinforced by the initiatives which sought to integrate technology assessment more directly into policy-making procedures. In many ways a particular Danish style of technology assessment found its application in the policy debates related to areas such as biotechnology and cleaner technology (Jamison and Baark 1990).

One of the most important aspects of Danish environmental science and technology policy in the 1990s has been the effort to move beyond the sectorial perception of environmental problems to ensure that areas such as energy, transport, agriculture, and industry would integrate environmental concerns into their activities. The actual policy-making and administration is still split up according to the sectorial responsibilities of ministries, but the Ministry of the Environment and Energy is attempting to provide overall coordination of the activities in each sector. However, a problem is that influential agricultural and agro-industrial interests still remain outside of the emerging consensus.

The process of policy integration and cooperation among major actors is particularly evident in efforts to promote cleaner technology. On the one hand the government initiated a program of support for cleaner technologies in an attempt to reduce the costs of compliance with existing emission standards and to achieve future standards for emission of heavy metals, for example. On the other the EPA has become increasingly forthcoming in entering into active dialogs with individual firms to find solutions to their problems. In many cases the new approach to interaction between business and public authorities has also been associated with the methodology of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) or "cradle-to-grave" analysis for products. In the case of LCA, for instance, business firms have sought to develop a better environmental image for their products by examining the "environmental load" of each of the components that enters into the production process; frequently they have discovered that there were substantial cost savings associated with "greener" production methods and naturally this has created a substantial amount of goodwill among business interests. The problem for Denmark, however, is that the world outside remains stubbornly anti-ecological and in order to compete in an international marketplace Danish companies cannot move too quickly. There is thus, particularly in agriculture and the food processing industries, a resistance to many of the new ideas and programs that might grow more serious in coming years. A populist anti-Europeanism, which is a strong political force in Denmark, is not particularly interested in ecological transformations if they are to challenge traditional values and interests.

In the 1990s Denmark became one of the most active countries in Europe in pursuing the new ideas of pollution prevention and cleaner production. Indeed, the environmental minister Svend Auken proposed on a number of occasions that Denmark should seek to provide an exemplary model for other countries to follow. As in the nineteenth century when traditions of popular participation were mobilized in the industrialization process, and in the twentieth during the Second World War, when resistance to the Nazis drew on national cultural traditions, Auken has argued that the strength of both Danish democratic institutions and not least grass-roots movements is an important factor in explaining the relative success of Danish environmental policy (Milj0-og energi minis-teriet 1995).

However, it is somewhat premature to view Denmark as a model of ecological modernization or of a new economically oriented environmental policy. While there can be no denying that the Danish environmental movement struck especially deep chords within society in the 1970s, and played an important role in preventing parliament from approving the development of nuclear energy, it can be questioned how deeply the new ideas of sustainable development have actually ingrained themselves in the Danish political culture. In 1998 a political scientist mounted a widely reported media attack on environmentalism, and many of the ecological modernizers were thrown on the defensive (Lomborg 1998). And there is a strong agricultural industry and a highway lobby, both of which are rooted in the rural districts, that has little interest in Denmark becoming a green idyll. As elsewhere, ecological transformations are filled with contradictions, but there is no question that Denmark has played a pioneering role in many areas, from energy to agriculture, and it might be valuable for those experiences to be given more attention by other countries in the years to come.

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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