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Denmark may phase out coal by 2025

Denmark’s top environmental official wants the country to lead the fight against climate change by banning the use of coal by 2025.

Helveg Petersen, the country’s climate minister, told Reuters that his staff is working toward a formal proposal to phase out coal, which Denmark currently uses for about a third of its electricity generation, but which emits large volumes of carbon dioxide.

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“The cost (of phasing out coal) would not be significant,” Petersen said, according to Reuters.

Denmark is already working toward reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, and is on track to use wind energy for half of its electricity by 2020 and eliminate coal by 2030.

The country’s emission dropped 25 percent from 1990 to 2012, one of the largest decreases of any European nation.

The coal reductions are part of Denmark’s goal to cut greenhouse gases 40 percent in 2020 from 1990 levels, the same decrease the European Union as a whole wants to see by 2030.

The Danish Energy Association warned Reuters that an accelerated coal phase-out would threaten electricity reliability, since wind power cannot always meet high demand.