Denmark Wants Fossil-Free Flight By 2030


Denmark says it will join a handful of neighboring countries and make all its domestic airline flights fossil fuel free by 2030. Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in her New Year’s address that making flying green is part of the government’s overall goal to reduce carbon emissions by 70 percent of its 1990 totals. “To travel is to live and therefore we fly,” Frederiksen said. “When other countries in the world are too slow, then Denmark must take the lead and raise the bar even more,” she said.

The prime minister acknowledged that not much work has been done so far to achieve the ambitious goal but scientists and business are working on it. Sweden has already made a similar commitment and has also announced plans to increase airport fees for “high-polluting planes.” France recently announced it was working on banning short-haul domestic flights where the distance between the cities served can be covered by train in 2.5 hours or less. Denmark shares flag carrier SAS with Sweden and Norway.

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  1. All 4 of my grandparents came over in the boat from Denmark. I see nothing in my Danish heritage that mandates virtue-signaling—in fact, MOST Danes I know would consider those who do “a little “Uppity”. (Laugh)

    I’d rather that SAS maintain the excellent service at competitive prices they are known for—rather than braying about how “woke” they are—it appears that the antics of Greta Thunberg has become the face of this once-proud airline.

  2. ‘ I see nothing in my Danish heritage that mandates virtue-signaling—in fact, MOST Danes I know would consider those who do “a little “Uppity”. (Laugh)’

    I doubt I’d laugh if I realized my statement actually defines the tired, political slur ‘virtue-signaling’. This lazy put-down has run its course, but unfortunately, one has to be ‘woke’ enough to see it…

    I find nothing insincere or inauthentic to show any ‘virtue-signaling’ in bad faith between what these countries of France, Denmark, and Sweden are doing to reduce aircraft carbon emissions. But being personally bothered enough to bring up the teenage ‘antics of Greta Thunberg’, well, that’s some ‘virtue signaling’ you can sink your teeth into.

    I wish great success to Denmark and the handful of neighboring countries in their efforts to wean off the teat of fossil fuels, whenever that may occur.

  3. Actually I have had a gut full of these tiny European countries telling the rest of the world how to operate and phase out fossil fuels. I live in Australia and aviation is absolutely embedded in the way we handle our society and way of life. Our land area is similar to the USA but our population is roughly 25 million.

    The state I live in is Queensland which has an area of 1,853,000 square kilometers. Denmark has an area of 43,000 kilometers. Queensland is 43 times the size of Denmark. My wife’s home was a cattle station of roughly 1500 square kilometers and that was a smaller property in the area. I am just trying to give a proportinate view of the problems of distance

    These tiny European countries are simply out of control with these sort of ‘pronunciations” We get feedback and influence from this sort of rubbish being spouted. Actually I would be surprised if there is any future need for aviation in these heavily populated countries with their high speed rail systems.

    Meanwhile in Queensland we rely heavily on aviation particularly for aeromedical rescues and transfers. eg The Royal Flying Doctor Service and numerous helicopter rescue organisations. The majority of cattle station rely on helicopters for mustering. The general aviation fleet is used for business etc. On top of that we have thousands of general aviation and recreational aircraft in everyday operations.

    Denmark may want to phase out fossil fuels but what a load of codswallop from an insignificant tiny country when compared to the challenges faced by the everyday fossil fuel users

    What is the next sort of fuel and where will it come from?

    • “Mac” makes a great point, and one that is almost always present in the “virtue signaling” controversies.

      If your small mountainous country is water-flow rich with year-round streams cascading down every valley it’s pretty easy to attain a 100% green electric grid, and the virtue so gathered is by virtue of geography rather than selfless morality.

      One of my numerous favorite sayings is that when you hear someone say “cost cannot be a consideration with something this important” you can be sure that person doesn’t expect to pay much, if any, of that cost.

  4. Being a Dane, living in Denmark, I feel compelled to comment on this.
    Please be advised that our present government is socialist and bases its survival on support from a communist and a ‘people’s socialist’ party, as well as a ‘radical’ party that seems to be convinced of knowing ‘what is best for you’. The statements made by our socialist prime minister needs to be seen in that context.

    The wish from the supporting parties isn’t to make aviation green. It is to ban aviation. Therefore, what the government will do, is laying steadily increasing taxes on domestic flights until they cease to be. They couldn’t care less about aviation.

    In a country, where nuclear power – due to a socialist government decision made in 1985 – isn’t even allowed to be discussed, it makes no sense to waste a lot of money on power-to-X experiments. Therefore, we shall do what we always do: Ride on the back of the sensible European countries that still have nuclear power plants. Finland just started using a brand new one and France is looking into increasing the nuclear output. In Denmark, we buy the power from these countries’ nuclear plants when the wind leaves our wind farm output insufficient – and still brag about being able to supply wind power to everyone.

    In a world where the Co2 output of social media data centres exceeds the Co2 output of aviation, and 5-10% of the global power usage is used for mining bitcoin, it would seem that a tiny country’s domestic aviation would be of lesser significance.

    We, the non-socialist population of Denmark tend to think that setting an example which leaves the population poorer will have no appealing influence on the rest of the world. Also, as Mr. McMonagle so correctly states, we are a very small country. If we all stopped breathing tomorrow, it would be of no Co2 consequence to the rest of the world.

    Please see the PM’s statement in this light – and please forget all about it.

      • Depends what you mean by Democrats.
        The government is a minority government formed by the Socialdemocratic party. They are supported by the ‘Enhedslisten’ (former communists, marxists, trotski-ists, and other, unholy extremists), the ‘People’s Socialist Party (more pond scum), and the ‘Radical Left’ (mostly intellectual boffins who have never held a job, but knows all about how you’re supposed to run your life and will shame you if you don’t).
        None of them have the slightest inkling of what democracy means; most of them seem to hold the former Soviet Union in great esteem.
        This country has every chance and opportunity to be free and wealthy if it weren’t for these airheads constantly throwing a spanner in the works.
        If you wish to see a perfect example of their disgust for ordinary people’s hard work and private property, Google ‘Mink Denmark’.

        • “Unholy extremists …” that’s good, Bent. I was speaking tongue-in-cheek comparing what you described to our current “dilemma” in this Country. So I guess we both have the same problem. Unless they figure out a way to make the passengers flap the wings or grow electrons on trees … this nutty extremist position carbon free airliner idea isn’t gonna happen. But I’m sure that — like here — there is a subset of the Danish society that believes it can.

          I spent time at Skrydstrup AS near Vojens/Haderslev on the F-16 European Test Team in 1979 so I sorta know how things are in Denmark … I’m sure worse since then. I DID google the “Mink Denmark” and was flabbergasted. How the hell do these types of people get elected? Do you have ballot stuffers in Demark now, too? 🙁 Keep up the good fight, sir.

  5. Discovered—someone that believes that a “challenged” and troubled teen-age girl is a “climate expert”

    She (and obviously others) would have the world wreck industry and economy based only on their beliefs—and that anyone that doesn’t buy into the theory is “wrong” and “evil”—they are intolerant of the beliefs of others.

    This may well fit into the same category of unproven beliefs through the centuries—like the Aztecs destroying all possessions every 7 years to assure continued sunshine—ritual sacrifice, and the burning of “witches” (people also listened to those disturbed little girls). all done by those who adhered to a “theory du jour”—and despite the mass hysteria by the “true believers”—all were proved wrong.

    Does anyone else recall the great chloro—fluorocarbon panic of 25 years ago (the “end of the Earth is Coming!) “Ozone Hole”?

    Climate DOES change—with or without mankind. The Arctic and Antarctic coal and petroleum fields of today USED to be highly vegetated—and Mankind was not around to blame the change on.

    • “Does anyone else recall the great chloro—fluorocarbon panic of 25 years ago (the “end of the Earth is Coming!) “Ozone Hole”?”

      I do indeed. Know what? It’s slowly getting better. Why? Because we acted and took the steps to fix it by mostly banning CFCs starting in 1987. After that the ozone hole stabilized. It is now getting smaller, and the ozone levels in the upper atmosphere is expected to recover by mid-century.

      This is an environmental problem that we managed to catch and fix in time before it caused real damage. I don’t think we’re going to be as lucky with CO2, because it’s a lot harder to solve with a lot more political opposition.

      • It’s NOT “slowly getting better.”

        Spent some time at Argentine Base Marambio in Antarctica in 1999. Their mission: To investigate the “Ozone Hole.” Surface, satellite, and aerial observations–in the 3 years they had been studying the problem of the “hole” appearing, then disappearing annually. The Short synopsis is: 1. “Ozone is created by sunlight and oxygen molecules (and there IS no sunlight at the far southern latitudes, during the winter–leading to a shortage of ozone, or, “the hole.” 2. Ozone DEPLETION is caused by extremely low temperature, (causing dehydration of the atmosphere) as well as NO SUNLIGHT TO REPLENISH IT– (Ozone is CREATED by sunlight shining on oxygen–It’s DARK and it’s COLD in Antarctica in the winter!). 3. For these reasons, Ozone “holes” were likely common well before flourocarbons became commonplace. 4. The reason the “Ozone hole” is common to Antarctica but rare in the Arctic is that unlike Antarctica, the Arctic has land masses nearby, ameliorating temperatures compared to the Antarctic, and causing winds to mix the atmosphere. 5. Satellite readings show the Antarctic “hole” opening and closing with the onset of Antarctic winter–and that is still true–despite the theory that it was caused by hairspray. 6. Contrary to assertions, eliminating aerosol propellants DIDN’T cure the “declining ozone hole”–this year, it is the 13th largest on record, according to NOAA.

        Given the panic by the “End of the world” hand-wringers–Despite the “war on hairspray”, nobody can take credit for “eliminating the Ozone hole”–it’s been with us for years, and despite the bleatings, likely will continue to exist until the Earth changes its axis. Feel free to use your hairspray.

        • O2 + energy = 03 Simple. Chemistry 101. Unless you believe the world is gonna end in — now — 7 years … then it has to become hard. Kinda like the FAA … making simple stuff hard since 1958. WAIT! Maybe the FAA is running Danish aviation?

          • “FAA running Danish aviation”?

            Nah–just similar “big government control” advocates–believers that “MORE regulation will make us safer–regardless past performance with regulation.”

            MOSt pilots are skeptics when it comes to government control (whether the FAA or government in general)–in 60 years of flying, INCREASED REGULATION hasn’t had nearly as large an effect on aviation safety as TRAINING and PEER PRESSURE.

            Let SAS burn the kind of fuel they wish–and let the rest of the world do the same. Consumers will make their choices–the virtue signalers will opt one way, the rest of the world will choose schedule, price, and service quality. I believe “The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith” (do they still teach that in school?) will prevail–as it always has.

  6. well, things were going well, until…issues of communism, social control, claiming that global warming is beyond our control…implying that the burning of fossil fuels is inconsequential, and the name calling began. Gentlepersons! Aviators! Approach the comment section as you would landing. A stabilized approach. Keep your comments to the technicalities involved, rather than commenting on human behavior, unless of course you actually do describe the behavior objectively rather than pejoratively!

    • How DARE anyone question socialism (the Scandinavian countries–AND their airline) ARE Socialist, are they not? Controlling the airline IS social control, is it not? “Global Warming” is claimed by the left (but far from “settled science), is it not? Let’s face it–the “World is going to end in _____years” types don’t exactly have a good track record for accuracy–they’ve been wrong for millenia! (laugh)

      These comments ARE based on “technicalities”–the worldwide aviation industry and airline industry–were it not so, why would the SAS decision be included on AvWeb?”

      Of what use would an aviation forum be if it didn’t allow different opinions, rather than government edicts (SAS–ONE out of hundreds of countries and airlines to advocate this radical position). If we wanted a forum that DIDN’T allow commentary that didn’t adhere to the “Party Line”–we would be watching CNN (which has fallen from the top of “news” to a distant “also ran” status).

  7. Hat’s off to you Dave and Andy for daring a contrary opinion to this group, and hat’s off to Denmark.

    Jim has articulated his own research and thesis on the ineffectiveness of the CFC ban. Call me crazy but I’ll put a little more credence in the peer reviewed work of actual scientists, summarized for example at

    As for ‘What is the next sort of fuel and where will it come from?’, the fuel is Hydrogen and it comes from electrolysis (of water, with Oxygen as a beneficial byproduct) powered by any of a number of carbon free electrical generation sources–wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, tidal, nuclear.

    Airbus is working on both the hydrogen fuel infrastructure and the aircraft designs built around this fuel–

    Airbus is motived by, and will be the first to benefit from, forward thinking countries like Denmark.

    Personally, I hold the unpopular opinion that modern nuclear technology deployment will be necessary to sufficiently replace fossil fuel energy, including for Hydrogen electrolyser capacity. Nuclear power is political poison, so that development won’t happen until championed by private leaders. Fortunately Bill Gates has been working on this for the last 15 years (, and Warren Buffet is now piloting this technology in some of the electrical utility and supply networks owned by Berkshire Hathaway. When the catastrophic consequences for not taking this step become sufficiently undeniable, the tide will shift.

    We’ll get there. It remains to be seen if it’s soon enough. Lord help our grandchildren if not. I see accelerating trends in floods, extreme temps, fires, and ice cap disintegration. Hard to understand those who don’t see what’s happening before their very own eyes and confirmed by science and data.