Environmental country reviews

OECD urges Denmark to protect the environment and reduce pollution


25/01/2008 - Denmark should reduce the health hazards and environmental risks related to the transport, agriculture, and energy sectors, according to a new OECD report. While the OECD welcomes Denmark's progress in tackling environmental challenges over the past decade, it notes that further steps are needed in both international environmental co-operation and Denmark's economic development.

The OECD's Environmental Performance Review of Denmark makes 37 recommendations.

  • Denmark has some of the OECD's highest rates of mortality from some types of cancer, and allergy and respiratory diseases affect about 20% of the population. The report notes that Denmark has no environmental targets for fine particulates PM2.5 and calls on the country to improve environmental health by reducing air pollutants, including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and ground-level ozone. Denmark should also reduce pollution of groundwater, lakes, rivers and coastal waters.
  • Denmark should better protect its nature and biodiversity by establishing national parks, strengthening management of the Natura 2000 areas, and better defining objectives for the conservation action plan.
  • Environmental concerns should be integrated into transport policies, with a sustainable transport plan, an environmental review of transport infrastructure plans and projects, reformed transport taxes, consideration of road pricing, and balancing tax on car use and ownership.
  • Denmark needs to give more priority to marine protection, cutting marine discharges of toxic substances and nutrients, and reinforcing its sustainable management of commercial fisheries and aquaculture.
  • It should also redouble efforts to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets. Denmark is far from meeting its climate change related emission commitments.

Among achievements to date, the report notes that:

  • Pressures on the environment did not grow as quickly as the economy in several areas, including air emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), water abstraction, the use of nitrogen fertilizers and of pesticides;
  • Denmark has based its environmental policies on good economic analysis (such as cost-benefit analyses) as well as good use of economic instruments such as taxes, fees and charges;
  • It also integrated environmental concerns, to some extent, into agriculture, for example, with increased use of agri-environmental measures as well as increase in organic production;
  • Denmark is committed to international environmental co-operation. A significant portion of its Development Assistance is devoted to environmental improvements and Denmark established the Greenland Dialogue on climate change. Looking forward, Denmark will host in 2009 a COP meeting for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen.

The review, part of the OECD's regular Environmental Performance Reviews of member countries, is available to journalists from the OECD's Media Division ( tel. + 33 1 45 24 97 00).

Further information can be found at www.oecd.org/env/countryreviews/denmark


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