Well, Forbes magazine has given progressive advocates of climate action a terrific talking point: The "best country for business in the world" -- for two years running -- is uber-green Denmark (photo below courtesy of Forbes).
Denmark has one of the strongest cap-and-trade commitments in the world -- 20% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. And it has a requirement that 20 percent of its overall energy mix be renewable by the end of 2011. And its efficiency measures are such that Energy Minister Connie Hedegaard said last year, "In 2025, (Denmark's) total energy consumption will not have risen in 50 years."
And Forbes says that's great for business!
Last month, Forbes magazine published its "The Best Countries For Business, 2009." Swiss climate change expert Nicolas Müller e-mailed me that buried inside was an attack on cap-and-trade -- and a delicious irony, which gives us the talking point.
Forbes' #2 country for business is the good-ole-USA, but the blurb on our fair country contains this absurd warning:
The biggest economy in the world and third-largest population, the U.S. continues to support business-friendly economic policies, despite a recent move in the balance of power from Wall Street to Washington. Broad policy shifts such as Cap and Trade, though, threaten to damage its economic competitiveness, particularly in industrial sectors.
Be afraid of cap and trade!
Or maybe not. I have argued that a strong leadership on energy and climate is crucial to competitiveness (see Why the United States REQUIRES a strong climate bill to remain competitive, Part 1 and Part 2: When the global Ponzi scheme collapses (circa 2030), the only jobs left will be green].
Now Forbes has made an even better case. Completely lost on Forbes is that their #1 country for business -- "for a second straight year" -- is heavily capped, uber-green Denmark!! Indeed, Müller notes the "big irony" in his email:
The country N°1 in their list is Denmark which has spent plenty of money in renewables, is covered by a cap and trade system, has one of the most stringent emission targets, taxes cars 100% or more, and has globally one of the most constraining environmental regulatory framework.
Here is how Denmark's government looks at clean energy, from a February 2008 article:
Denmark aims to increase its use of renewable energy to 20 percent of its overall energy mix by the end of 2011, up from 15 percent today, the government said Friday.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's liberal-conservative government [!], along with most other parliamentary parties, agreed late Thursday on the new target, the Climate and Energy Ministry said in a statement...
The deal was reached less than a month after the European Commission set a renewable energy target for Denmark at 30 percent by 2020 as part of an EU-wide scheme aimed at reducing dependence on fossil fuel.
The Danish agreement calls for better subsidies for developing energy from wind, biomass and biogas, and for two new wind parks to be built off the Scandinavian country's coast by 2012.
Cars running on hydrogen fuel will be exempt from taxes while the tax-free status of electric cars will be extended until 2012, according to the statement.
"The creation of a stable framework for investments in renewable energy is in everyone's interest," Hedegaard said, adding that Denmark would also try to slash its overall energy use by two percent by 2011 compared to 2006 levels, and by four percent by 2020.
When it comes to reducing energy use, "Denmark is a world leader and we intend to continue in the same mode," Hedegaard said, pointing out that "In 2025, (Denmark's) total energy consumption will not have risen in 50 years."
Glad to see that someone at Forbes realizes aggressive government action on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and carbon caps are good for business.
[Yes, I'm aware that Denmark's carbon commitment is so strong it will require complementary measures to meet. That is the nature of the EU approach.]
This piece originally appeared in Climate Progress.