"Sustainable economic growth is an attainable objective. The Nordic Region has made great progress with solutions based on environmental technology, and some day it will be possible to stockpile energy generated from renewable sources such as windmills, and to run vehicles purely on excess energy," was the optimistic message put forward by the Danish Minister of Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard at a Nordic debate on 16 May.
Hedegaard debated plans for Nordic co-operation on climate change with the Socialist People's Party (SF) spokesperson Anne Grete Holmsgaard. SF insists that more rapid progress is needed. The latest data from the former World Bank advisor Stern talk about the necessity of CO2 reductions of some 80-90% by 2050, which would represent upheaval on a par with the introduction of the welfare state.
The two politicians agreed on the general direction – that something has to be done, and that the Nordic Region has set a good example by leading the way. They disagreed on specific issues, e.g. whether it would help to cut the energy budget of state-owned companies by 5%. Halldór Ásgrímsson, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, welcomed the debate, and proposed that the Nordic Development Fund might fund technology-transfer projects, e.g to African countries.
The meeting, which was organised by the Nordic Region in Focus, was held in the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers in Copenhagen.