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by Euro Reporter
2013-01-14 10:03:35
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Denmark aims to end carbon-based energy

If Europe is being strangled by its social welfare systems, as many in the United States believe, what is to be made of Denmark? Denmark is a social welfare state. It provides free education from kindergarten through university; a free medical system that costs just 9 percent of its gross domestic product, as opposed to the 17 percent that goes to health care in the United States. Women in Denmark get a year of maternity leave; to prevent employers from discriminating against them; men get paternity leave, three months of it. In addition to this small-weave social net, the Danes, all 5.5 million of them, are well down the road to a carbon-free future. Currently, windmills generate a whopping 28 percent of Denmark's electricity; by 2020, they will generate 50 percent of the country's electricity. According to Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Danish ambassador to the United States, the plan is for the Danish economy to be carbon-free by around 2050. As a maritime country, Denmark can place much of its wind generation offshore. Its emphasis on wind power has made it the world's leading exporter of wind turbine technology. A Danish company, Vestas, has four manufacturing sites in the United States that employ 2,500 people.

In wind farming, size matters; the larger the wind turbine, the cheaper the collection of the electricity, and the more efficient the maintenance. This is driving the Danes to larger and larger machines. Most onshore wind turbines in the United States are rated a little over 1 megawatt. The Danes have some rated at 6 MW and are contemplating 10-MW monsters far out to sea -- where no one except mariners will see them. Biomass is also a favourite of the alternative-energy culture in Denmark. This is a practicality, not a wish. With more than 25 million pigs, manure is a very available resource for the Danes and they are using it. Denmark has one of the highest bicycle penetrations in Europe with more than half of Danes biking to work and everywhere else. In Copenhagen, the principal traffic problem is congestion on the bike paths and bike highways, according to Taksoe-Jensen. As gasoline costs between $10 and $12 a gallon, it is not altogether surprising the Danes have learned to love their two-wheelers.

This seeming Green Revolution had its roots not in concern over global warming, but rather in the Arab oil embargo and the resulting energy crisis of 1973-74. At the time, Denmark was almost entirely dependent on imported oil and other fossil fuels and was very hard hit. Taksoe-Jensen says the Danes said to themselves "never again" and set out to become energy self-sufficient in any way they could with what was at hand. The idea that you could be green as well came later, as a kind of bonus. On its journey to a renewable future, Denmark got a leg up from the discovery of oil and gas in the North Sea, which became available in the 1970s. This has now peaked and will be gone in about 20 years. But it has been a valuable transition fuel and currency earner. Denmark is part of the European Union and NATO. It uses the krone as its currency, which is pegged to the euro. The economic storms that have been raging over Europe since 2008 have affected Denmark. Global demand for Danish technology and agricultural products has protected Denmark from a severe buffeting. Unemployment which was at 2.5 percent has risen to 6 percent; in most of Europe, unemployment is over 10 percent. To this sanguine picture of a future that appears to work, add one more bonus: for three years straight, polls conducted by the Organization for European Cooperation and Development have ranked the Danes as the happiest people in the world. Last April, a gastropanel crowned Danish restaurant Noma the best in the world for the third year in a row.

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Fresh wolf sightings in Denmark

A new wolf is believed to have migrated into Denmark, with several sightings having been reported in recent weeks. Numerous residents in the Danish peninsula of Jutland say have seen the animal, which was photographed in the area just before the New Year. The news comes a month after wildlife experts confirmed that a canine carcass found in Jutland’s Thy National Park was indeed a wolf, marking the first confirmed natural arrival of the animals on Danish soil in nearly two centuries.

Now, with a second wolf apparently in the region, experts say the animals may be travelling from Germany to Denmark to claim new territory. Wolf populations in Germany have increased substantially over the past decade, with some seemingly wandering farther to the north and the west. Zoologist Mogens Trolle from the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum in Copenhagen told the Copenhagen Post, “Some of these wolves travel incredible distances, over 1,500 kilometres, in their search. So a good explanation for this is that the young wolves are coming to Denmark in search of a good place to settle that isn’t occupied by other wolves.”

The new resident – thought to be a young male – was photographed on 26 December by Alice Durinck near the town of Lem in Jutland. Mrs Durinck and experts alike are almost positive that the canine is a wolf. Speaking about the image, Trolle said, “The close-up photo of the animal is of considerably better quality than the wolf photos from Thy, and it looks a lot like a grey wolf – a relative of the Thy wolf, in other words.”

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Denmark police apologize for ID check

Copenhagen Police are admitting they shouldn't have targeted a church for the purposes of identifying African migrants. The Copenhagen Post reported five police officers entered the The Redeemed Christian Church of God in Amager Dec. 30, shortly before the start of services, to check churchgoers' identification papers.

Police said African immigrants frequent the church and that the location comes up during investigations of illegal residents.  Police claimed they didn't know the location was a church despite its name, and that the action turned up three questionable individuals.

But after widespread criticism of the decision, police apologized Wednesday for targeting the church.  "We must simply do our research better," a Copenhagen police inspector said.




        
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Emanuel Paparella2013-01-14 12:31:09
Since the Danes are considered the happiest people on earth nowadays, does it necessarily follow that, having constructed an economic Utopia, the rest of the world ought to emulate their way of life and join their economic well-being and “happiness”? The question needs to be asked since one of the interpretations of the above narrative is that by bread alone does man live and bread shall make him happy. It remains doubtful however that Aristotle had that kind of happiness in mind when he talked of “eudaimonia” and virtue ethics.


Lawrence Nannery2013-01-14 18:33:54
I am sorry to address you with what will seem a hostile question, but I want to know the truth, one way or the other: is it true that hudreds of thousands of birds have been killed flying into these giant machines? If so, I do not think the project worth it.


Euro-reporter2013-01-14 20:09:29
I'm not sure if we are talking about hundreds but some have been killed.


Leah Sellers2013-01-14 21:27:36
As the Green Winds of Alternative-Energies Shift and Change they are beleagered by a World still determined to be Oil Gluttons and Sacrificial Muttons.
New Gray Wolves are Howling greetings of jubilation to Thy Wolves, Oh Danes. And Police Inspectors of Authority Walk in Righteous Humility and Grace Knowing the Societal Importance of the why's, when's and how's to Apologize, Knowing that they must Bravely and Ethically Admit their wrongdoings, and then Promise Faithfully to Do Better in order not to repeat their Transgressions in order to continue their Growth toward an Enlightened and Enlightening Systemic Society and Culture.
Oh Danes - Dear Brothers and Sisters - you are Universal Role Models for Us All. Thank you !


Emanuel Paparella2013-01-15 11:46:47
Larry, I am no expert on the subject of wind turbo engines vis a vis deep ecology, but ti address your query, as I understand the issue of the killing of birds by wind farms from our local Everglades Sugarland controversy here in Florida, it all depends on where they are located. If they are located in the middle of the Atlantic flyway or the middle of the Everglades, then each turbo can indeed end up harming thousands of birds yearly and the reassuring official statistics of one bird killed per turbo begins to appear a bit deceptive. Which is to say, wind farms may end up contributing to the eventual demise of the Everglades despite the billions of dollars being spent on Everglades restoration to provide habitat for birds at risk. If it all sounds tupsy turvy, so it is. Perhaps you'll concur that the ancient Greeks had it on target: avoid extremes on most issues and practice harmony and moderation, or something like that.


Emanuel Paparella2013-01-15 15:32:14
P.S. The upshot of it all is that Danes are happy people, except for one, Hamlet who is still proclaiming that to be or not to be, that is the question. To be or not to be


Lawrence Nannery2013-01-16 00:37:44
Well, I thank all those of you who have contributed to this question, but the important thing would be to find if anyone is counting, and if anyone cares.


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