This small, flat, and densely-populated country of 5.4 million is dominated by the sea, with 7,314 km of coastline and 443 islands. Its intensive agriculture practices rank it 4th in the world for agricultural production (pigs outnumber Danes by a ratio of 4:1). Denmark has two autonomous regions, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, 85% of which is covered by an ice sheet with rich underlying untapped oil reserves. It is the largest ice sheet outside of Antarctica, measuring 2 million km², four times the size of France.
Energy: with no potential for hydroelectric power generation, in 1985 Denmark passed a law against nuclear energy in favour of wind power. Today, on-shore and off-shore wind resources supply 21% of the country’s domestic electricity requirements. At 500 watts/capita generated by wind power (compared to 5 in France), Denmark boasts the world’s largest wind power production per capita. Denmark is the EU’s largest producer of municipal waste, of which over half is recycled. The port of Kalundborg is a shining example of green industrial practices.
Each year, some 1,000 whales are hunted for consumption by Faroe Islanders. In Greenland, seal populations are dwindling.
Climate: Denmark is slated to open a university specialising in climate research, as a precursor to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009.
At 972,000 km², Greenland National Park is the largest protected area in the world, even larger than Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The European Environment Agency (EEA) is based in Copenhagen and is a federation of environmental protection agencies from throughout Europe.