Campaign Country Going Green? Danish Government Campaigns for Saving Energy and the Rise of Environmental Concern, c. 1973-1995

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Abstract

This paper investigates more than 20 years of government led attempts to have Danish consumers curb their energy use. Looking at previously unexploited campaign material a number of results emerge, qualifying, the notion of Denmark as a front runner, when it comes to environmental awareness. The first attempts to cut energy consumption came about as a direct consequence of the
international oil crises of 1973-74, and for the following 15 years the government standing committee on energy savings issued a string of energy saving campaigns, fueled entirely by an appeal to common sense household economics and not least a significant portion of patriotism. Environmental justification was almost entirely absent throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
This changed only from 1989 onwards, as government initiatives to curb the ever rising consumption of energy commenced an extensive use of environmental justification.
This paper finally discusses the reason for this greening of government initiated Danish energy saving campaigns, which is seen as an indirect result of the 1987 UN report, Our Common Future. The 1988 general election in Denmark led to the formation of a new center-right government coalition (1988-1990), where recommendations from Our Common Future became part of the new government program. The early 1990s witnessed a rare consensus on promoting environmental sustainability, which extended across traditional left-right party lines.
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This paper investigates more than 20 years of government led attempts to have Danish consumers curb their energy use. Looking at previously unexploited campaign material a number of results emerge, qualifying, the notion of Denmark as a front runner, when it comes to environmental awareness. The first attempts to cut energy consumption came about as a direct consequence of the
international oil crises of 1973-74, and for the following 15 years the government standing committee on energy savings issued a string of energy saving campaigns, fueled entirely by an appeal to common sense household economics and not least a significant portion of patriotism. Environmental justification was almost entirely absent throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
This changed only from 1989 onwards, as government initiatives to curb the ever rising consumption of energy commenced an extensive use of environmental justification.
This paper finally discusses the reason for this greening of government initiated Danish energy saving campaigns, which is seen as an indirect result of the 1987 UN report, Our Common Future. The 1988 general election in Denmark led to the formation of a new center-right government coalition (1988-1990), where recommendations from Our Common Future became part of the new government program. The early 1990s witnessed a rare consensus on promoting environmental sustainability, which extended across traditional left-right party lines.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReformer og ressourcer / Reforms and Resources : Rapporter til det 29. Nordiske Historikermøde / Proceedings of the 29th Congress of Nordic Historians
EditorsMartin Dackling, Poul Duedahl, Bo Poulsen
Number of pages41
Volume2
Place of PublicationAalborg
PublisherAalborg Universitetsforlag
Publication date30 Jul 2017
Pages143-183
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7112-643-3
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2017
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes
EventNordisk historikermøde - AAU, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 15 Aug 201718 Aug 2017

Conference

ConferenceNordisk historikermøde
LocationAAU
LandDenmark
ByAalborg
Periode15/08/201718/08/2017
SeriesStudier i historie, arkiver og kulturarv
ISSN2246-2023

    Research areas

  • energy history, environmental history, energy , Campaigns, Denmark, Danish history, Sustainable energy

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