Denmark, S. Korea, Singapore Offer Lessons to US

What a difference it would make in the US if we adopted priorities like Denmark, South Korea and Singapore.

In March, Denmark adopted the policy of promoting renewable energy at the expense of fossil fuels. It passed legislation to  run on 100% renewable energy by 2050.

The country’s dominant utility, Dong Energy, is therefore converting from coal to biomass at three of its largest power plants, which produce a total of 1,968 megawatts, reports Bloomberg.

The switch cuts Dong’s coal consumption by two-thirds of the amount used in 2006. Dong’s goal is to raise renewable energy use from 15% in 2006 to 85% in 2040.

We hope the biomass it burns is waste wood, not wood that comes from logged forests for that purpose.  

South Korea Asks for 3% Emissions Cut Next Year

This year, South Korea’s biggest companies – and biggest polluters – achieved a 1.42% cut in total emissions after the government required it.

Next year, the government wants them to double that cut – to reduce emissions 3%.  

South Korea is preparing for its cap-and-trade program, which begins in 2015, by issuing targets for industry emission cuts in advance.

"We expect the reduction target, which was set up based upon this year’s strict verification, to help those emitters facing the emission certificate trading scheme in 2015 strengthen and improve their competitiveness," says the economic ministry.

The largest 377 industrial and utility companies are required to participate when the cap-and-trade program begins. Until then, they face a small fine if they don’t meet government targets.

Singapore Mandates Green Building

In June, Singapore released a national climate change strategy, which centers on energy efficiency to reduce emissions. 

Starting next year, all buildings – old and new – will have to meet certification standards set by the government in its Green Mark standards.

For existing buildings, the program first applies to hotels, retail and office buildings over a certain size. They are required to get an energy audit every three years, submit annual energy consumption data annually, and achieve minimum Green Mark certification when they install a new cooling system.

Data centers will have to meet standards developed specifically for them – Green Mark for Data Centers. They will be assessed on energy and water efficiency, sustainable construction & management and indoor environment quality.

The government expects commercial data centers to grow 50% in the next few years – each uses the energy of 10,000 households.

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