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Monday, December 14, 2009

Denmark can afford to subsidize clean-energy electric cars because it has grown rich on fossil fuels.

As the host of the ongoing U.N. climate conference, Denmark happily markets itself as postcard place of iconic images: clear skies, windmills and happy bicyclists. But much of that holistic sense of greenness was paid for with black gold.

The country earns considerable revenue from oil and gas extracted from the North Sea. Last year, state oil and gas receipts hit $7 billion, up almost 30 percent from the year before and the highest since 1972, when production began. Income from oil and gas constituted 4.2 percent of the government’s overall tax revenues in 2008. In other words, Denmark, which has been self-sufficient in energy since 1997, can afford to subsidize big-ticket, clean-energy electric cars — and other such feel-good items — because it has grown rich on fossil fuels.
“This is the darker side of the glory story of Denmark as a green, energy-friendly country,” said Kim Ejlertsen, an energy and climate campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Denmark. “We are not — not at all.” (continues here)

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