Abandoning fossil fuel production: What can be learned from the Danish phase-out of oil and gas?

Poul Thøis Madsen*, Dennis Severin Hansen, Karl Sperling, Camilla Houeland, Kirsten Jenkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


In December 2020, the Danish parliament decided to terminate all oil and gas extraction by the end of 2050 ’as an important step’ to becoming climate neutral in the same year. The agreement also stated that the Danish example would have to inspire larger oil and gas-producing countries to follow suit. This perspective derives five lessons relevant to larger countries: (1) The necessity of undertaking an economic feasibility study of phasing out oil and gas. (2) Based on this work, the importance of choosing an end date, creating consensus around it and leaving sufficient time to enable a just transition and a well-managed re-orientation of public and private long-term investments. (3) Social acceptability could be achieved by developing industry-specific and regional compensation measures and systematic support for retraining and training the workforce for non-fossil fuel activities. (4) The need to develop a detailed roadmap for the phase-out, including just transition measures, but just as important, clear milestones to ensure synergy within and integration of the different parts of the energy system and elements of the transition. (5) Making the process as open and transparent as possible to make room for criticisms and improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103211
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023


  • Comparative policy advice
  • Decarbonization
  • Fossil production phase-out
  • Supply-side decarbonization
  • Transition


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