Danish climate policies

The Danish policies on climate change mitigation is driven partly by compliance with international climate obligations, and partly by achieving national targets in the energy sector, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions from Denmark. The regulatory framework for the Danish climate related policies is laid out in the Danish climate law.

Overview: Targets impacting Danish climate policies

The targets, relevant for the Danish climate policies originate partly in decisions on specific national ambitions and partly in the Danish obligations to comply with a set of international agreements in the energy field within the EU and the UN.

Overview of the various targets and obligations

Framework Area Obligation/target
Government platform 2015 Phase-out of fossil fuels Denmark is to be climate neutral by 2050
Danish climate law Low emission society by 2050 Target is not specified
EU: 2020 targets Greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, agriculture and transportation To be reduced by 20 pct. between 2005 and 2020
Fraction of renewable energy in total energy consumption 30 pct. by 2020
Fraction of renewable energy in the transport sector 10 pct. by 2020
EU: 2030-targets

The total emissions from the EU are to be reduced by 40 pct. between 1990 and 2030. This includes the following targets for the EU as a whole:

  • 43 pct. reductions from large emitters such as power plants and the oil and gas sectors.
  • 30 pct. reductions of emissions from buildings, agriculture and transportation.
  • At least 27 pct. renewable energy in total energy consumption by 2030. 
  • At least 27 pct. increase in energy efficiency by 2030.


The emission reduction targets for the EU as a whole are to be implemented as national reduction obligations for buildings, agriculture and transportation.

The Danish reduction obligations have not yet been negotiated.


Read more on EU targets and regulation

Read more on UN climate agreements and the connection between the targets of the UN and the EU

​Denmark is on track to fulfilling our climate obligations

The Danish Energy Agency publishes two reports each year evaluating the Danish process towards fulfilling the EU climate obligations. These publications are the Danish Energy Statistics and the Danish Climate and Energy Outlook.

The Energy Statistics show the Danish reductions of greenhouse gas emissions in a historical perspective. It also includes an assessment of the yearly emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses.

The Danish Climate and Energy Outlook shows the expected reductions in future greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more on the latest Energy Statistics and the latest Climate and Energy Outlook.

Status for EU-regulated targets

The Climate and Energy Outlook shows that Denmark expects to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, agriculture and transportation by 20 pct. in 2020. In total, an overachievement of 14 million tons CO2 equivalents is expected over the period of obligation.

Status for UN-regulated targets

Denmark has submitted the official account of greenhouse gas emission reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. The account is expected to be approved by the UN during the summer of 2016. The account shows that Denmark has met its obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The climate law

In 2014, the parliament passed the Danish climate law. The law is supposed to ensure a stable direction and framework around the Danish climate policies.

The law states that the goal is to transform the Danish economy into a low-emission society by 2050. According to the law, this should result in a resource efficient society where energy supply is based on renewable energy resources, and where the greenhouse gas emissions from other sectors is significantly lower, while at the same time leaving room for economic growth and development.

The contents of the Danish Climate law

The law includes the following main messages:

  1. A council on climate change which is independent and academically based is to be established.
  2. An energy policy report is to be submitted by the government to the parliament every year.
  3. New national climate targets are to be established each year.

The Danish Council on Climate Change was established in 2015, and consists of extinguished academic experts in the fields of energy, transportation, agriculture, environmental protection, nature and economics. They are to publish their recommendations to the government on the climate effort. Further, the experts are to contribute to the public discussion on the Danish climate efforts. The council is appointed for four year terms, and consists of a chairman and six experts.

Read more on the work and recommendations of the Council on climate change.

The Minister for energy, utilities and climate is obliged by the law to submit an annual energy policy report to the parliament. The report presents a status of current greenhouse gas emissions and Denmark’s outlook on compliance with international obligations.

Finally, the climate law obligates the minister for energy, utilities and climate to propose national climate targets at least every fifth year. The targets must have ten-year perspectives and the level of ambition needs to point towards the ambitions for 2050.