Monday, August 11, 2008

Be like Denmark...For Energy Efficiency

Thomas Friedman, one of my favorite columnists, "hits the nail on the head" again related to answers to our country's energy addiction. His story almost makes me want to move to Denmark...if it weren't for the cold, long winters. But for energy revolutionaries, they stand out as the most progressive society when they had to deal with their own energy crisis back in 1973.

For those of you who don't want to take time to read the article, here are Ed's highlights: knew it was rush hour because 50 percent of the traffic in every intersection was bicycles. That is roughly the percentage of Danes who use two-wheelers to go to and from work or school every day here. If I lived in a city that had dedicated bike lanes everywhere, including one to the airport, I’d go to work that way, too. It means less traffic, less pollution and less obesity.

...Denmark today gets nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind. America? About 1 percent.

...Danes recycle waste heat from their coal-fired power plants and use it for home heating and hot water, or the way they incinerate their trash in central stations to provide home heating. (There are virtually no landfills here.)

...Today, one-third of all terrestrial wind turbines in the world come from Denmark.” In the last 10 years, Denmark’s exports of energy efficiency products have tripled. Energy technology exports rose 8 percent in 2007 to more than $10.5 billion in 2006 (Ed...more than 10x the annual income of the Panama Canal), compared with a 2 percent rise in 2007 for Danish exports as a whole.

...It is one reason that unemployment in Denmark today is 1.6 percent. In 1973, said Hedegaard, “we got 99 percent of our energy from the Middle East. Today it is zero.”

...Denmark’s prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, told me. “The cure is not to reduce the price (of gasoline), but, on the contrary, to raise it even higher to break our addiction to oil. We are going to introduce a new tax reform in the direction of even higher taxation on energy and the revenue generated on that will be used to cut taxes on personal income — so we will improve incentives to work and improve incentives to save energy and develop renewable energy.”

...Why should you care? “We’ve had 35 new competitors coming out of China in the last 18 months,” said Engel, “and not one out of the U.S.”

Now, explain to me again why America cannot compete with the Danes on energy issues? Are we going to lose to the Chinese in THIS arena as well? Windmills look much more attractive to me than smoke stacks, belching out their contamination and contributing greatly to our growing percentage of cancer deaths in America.

Hats off to the Danes...


Bibiana said...

Que buena idea la de los Daneses, excelente solucion utilizar el recurso gratis que nos da la madre naturaleza con su viento para generar energia.
Algo deben tener ciertos pueblos como Dinamarca, su gente lista y tranquila con buenas ideas, que benefician el planeta, ellos mismos para su salud.
Paises tan desarrollados, con especiales mentes brillantes, con gobiernos inteligentes que no estan buscando ganar con el petroleo.

La bicicleta es una muy buena solucion, en mi pais Colombia y mi ciudad Bogota, mucha gente usa la bicicleta como medio de transporte, ademas con vias especiales, llamada ciclovias que van paralelas a las grandes avenidas de vehiculos, pero sin riesgo para nadie.

Ademas por que no mucha gente en Colombia tiene capacidad economica para mantener un carro y pagar el alto costo de la gasolina.

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