Danish Ambassador to Talk Green Energy at U.Va.

October 14, 2009

October 14, 2009 — Danish Ambassador to the United States Friis Petersen comes to the University of Virginia on Tuesday to talk about ways to fight global climate change by creating a green-energy economy.

Petersen's talk will highlight the huge reductions Denmark has made in nonrenewable energy consumption in the past 30 years, while also making strides in its economic growth rate and keeping unemployment low. It will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. in the auditorium of the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. It is free and open to the public.

Denmark looked to renewable energy sources following the 1973 Arab oil embargo, when members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries stopped or limited oil shipments to countries supporting Israel during the Arab-Israeli war..

Copenhagen became a pioneer in wind power, installing wind turbines around the country that today provide nearly 20 percent of the country's electricity. Other initiatives, such as strict energy-efficiency standards on buildings and heavy taxes on automobiles and gasoline have also contributed to Denmark's energy independence.

Denmark is now self-sufficient in energy and exports oil, gas and electricity.

Petersen's appearance is timely, as Copenhagen will host the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in December.

Petersen's talk continues U.Va.'s Ambassador Speakers Series, which kicked off Sept. 4 when Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani talked about foreign policy and tensions with Al Qaeda before a standing room-only crowd in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom.

— By Jane Kelly