Danish official speaks at Humphrey about climate change

The Deputy Chief of Mission for the Royal Danish Embassy spoke at the Humphrey Center about the United State’s role in the upcoming Copenhagen conference.

by Cody Vanasse

Deputy Chief of Mission for the Royal Danish Embassy SÃòren Jensen spoke at the University of Minnesota Thursday about the United StatesâÄô role in the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. Jensen spoke at the âÄúDenmarkâÄôs Greener Future: Influencing Global Energy PolicyâÄù event hosted by the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Jensen filled in last minute for DenmarkâÄôs ambassador to the U.S., who was scheduled to speak, but was summoned Wednesday by President Barack Obama to accompany him on an impromptu trip to Denmark. The conference aims to create a new world-wide doctrine to reduce man-made greenhouse gas emissions before sections of the Kyoto Protocol expire in 2012. The United States, Jensen explained, will have a crucial role at the conference in either persuading or deterring other major energy consumers, such as China, India, and Brazil, from reforming their environmentally harmful ways. âÄúIf the U.S. does not come along [with environmental reform], nothing will happen in Copenhagen,âÄù he said. Jensen said he hopes Denmark can serve as an example of what green technology could bring to the U.S. A Dane uses half the energy of an American, Jensen said, partially because the Danish people incorporate green thinking into their everyday lives. Jensen highlighted how a becoming a green country could lead to a prosperous economy for the U.S., citing DenmarkâÄôs green job market and the less than 4 percent unemployment rate as an example. âÄúOver the past 25 years, DenmarkâÄôs economy has gone up nearly 75 percent, and we are using the same amount of energy [as we did 25 years ago],âÄù he said. Jensen also stressed the imperativeness of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 from emission levels in 1990. However, Jensen said that most U.S. reports are not aiming for the midpoint 2020 targeted reduction. Dean of the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Brian Atwood said JensenâÄôs lecture made him look at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from a completely different point of view. âÄúThereâÄôs no reason why the U.S. canâÄôt do something Denmark can do,âÄù Atwood said. âÄúAnd if the U.S. can [reform emissions], certainly Minnesota can.âÄù Some environmentally friendly solutions Jensen suggested for the United States included using natural gas over other fossil fuels, and investigating the use of oceans as a source of power. The role of students in this green movement is critical, said Rep. Jeremy Kalin , DFLâÄìNorth Branch, and head of the White House climate change group , which works directly with the White House on climate change. âÄú[Senators] Klobuchar and Franken need to hear the voices of young people push for change as soon as possible,âÄù Kalin said. âÄúWe need to say, âÄòI vote, and I believe in a clean energy revolution.âÄôâÄù Jensen urged students to mail their congressmen and push the political process to create change before the Copenhagen conference. âÄúItâÄôs a battle we can win,âÄù Jensen said. âÄúBut we cannot wait.âÄù