It's hard to imagine here in the U.S. (a county whose Chamber of Commerce actively lobbies against climate regulation) but in Denmark, close to 90% of all businesses in the country have representation in one of the country's largest membership organizations -- the Climate Consortium Denmark.
The Climate Consortium is a public-private partnership which promotes solutions developed in Denmark over the past 30 years, solutions which it hopes to offer other countries as they seek to comply with soon-to-be mandated carbon mitigation goals.
Last week I had a chance to sit down with Finn Mortensen, the director of the Consortium to ask him about the organization and how it will be impacted by the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen.
One of the most interesting things about the cleantech sector in Denmark is how thoroughly diversified it is. While the country is most famous for its wind turbines, it has also become a leader in energy efficient building materials (like high performance windows and insulation), biomass energy, smart grid technology, fuel cells. More or less everything under the cleantech sun (except solar).
This plurality of co-existing solutions is a direct outcome of the Danish government's sustained efforts to become energy independent over the course of the past 30 years, and it presents a strategy for other countries to follow.
To that end, the Climate Consortium recently invested in the development of an interactive database called EnergyMap, which showcases the breadth of these technologies in 7 categories (eco-nerds beware):
One company featured in the Energy Map is Danfoss, the world leader in smart thermostats. A great example of how a single inexpensive technology can make a difference, Danfoss estimates that if all 800 million residential radiators in the EU were equipped with this simple device, Europe could reach a full 50% of its Kyoto requirements. China and Russia have over a billion and in the U.S. there are over 75 million radiators.
In other words there is a lot of energy to be saved and money to be made, and Denmark is primed to continue its accelerating growth in cleantech exports post-Copenhagen.
But profit motives aside, when talking to members of the Consortium one also gets a very real sense of goodwill -- that all of Denmark's hard work in the past needs to be shared for the benefit of the world in what will most certainly be a time of great challenges.
As Finn said, "Either we sink together or swim together. And swimming... you do that best by teaching everybody how to do it."
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