Scandinavian and Latin American Bureau Chief, David Berke continues his tour of The World Leaders Forum with the PM of Hamlet’s Homeland.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark (and someone who is probably sick of all the Hamlet jokes), did his part for the World Leader’s Forum, addressing a full house in Low library. The dashing Dane discussed climate change and energy, two topics on which Denmark has been a global leader. As Bollinger pointed out in his introductory address, Denmark, which depended on oil imports for 99% of its energy supply at the time of the OPEC crisis, is now energy independent. The next UN summit on climate change, scheduled for fall of 2009, will be held in Copenhagen.
Rasmussen was aggressive but complimentary towards his host country, imploring the US to reassume its role as an international leader and lead the sustainable development charge, the “industrial revolution of the 21st century.”
Though never confrontational, Rasmussen contended that, while Denmark’s alternative energy conglomerates are facing fierce competition from new companies in China, no major US competitors have emerged. Rasmussen also argued that, if the US were as energy efficient as Denmark, it would be able to decrease its oil imports by 80%, saving $300 billion dollars per year. “The sooner we make the move, the lower the costs and the greater the oportunities,” Rasmussen urged.
Rasmussen also laid out his ambitious plans for the 2009 conference, at which he hopes to convince attendees to decrease their carbon emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2050.