Scandinavian-Style Sustainability

Scandinavian-Style Sustainability

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Scandinavian-Style Sustainability

From a window seat, the first glimpse of Denmark’s sustainability ambition waves at air travelers as they make their descent into Copenhagen’s airport. Middelgrunden, a row of 20 towering turbines audaciously anchored to a reef more than a mile from dry land, was the world’s largest offshore wind farm when it was built in 2000. Today, along with Copenhagen’s famous bicycle scene, these blades remain among the most visible signs of a decades-long green transition underway in this city, which aspires to be the world’s first carbon-neutral capital in 2025.

It’s big goals and big investments like these that have helped give Denmark and its neighbors Norway and Sweden an outsized presence in the sustainability world. As it sheds a dirtier, oil-dependent past, Scandinavia has become a mecca for green energy, design and policy, boasting some of the world’s most efficient buildings, lowest fossil fuel use and boldest emission targets.

Yet, exceptional as these Scandinavian countries appear — and they certainly are above average — each also faces significant questions and contradictions as it attempts to minimize its impact on the climate and planet.

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