CBS Evening News Shows How A Denmark Community Defied Conservative Myths About Renewable Energy

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From the April 20 edition of CBS' Evening News with Scott Pelley:

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SCOTT PELLEY (HOST): We close tonight on a tiny windswept island in Denmark, formerly a launching point for viking invasions. Now it's the perfect conquest for Mark Phillips' continuing series “The Climate Diaries.”

MARK PHILLIPS: It's an off-the-beaten-track place. But a warming trend is beating a path to Samsø's door, because this small Danish sliver of an island around 20 miles long, and with fewer than 4,000 people has already managed to get its greenhouse gas emissions down to virtually to zero. It hasn't used any miraculous new technology. Instead it's the old reliable renewables, wind and sun to make power, burning crop waste to produce heat, But it's not what Samsø has done, it's how it has done it that has caught the world's attention.

Climb with Søren Hermansen, a leader in Samsø 's rise the environmental fame, and you've got to go a long way up to understand how it works. These wind turbines weren't put up by some big conglomerate in search of government subsidies and profit. They were erected by local farmers and shareholders who saw that the island's economy could be improved and that they could cash in by investing in the environmental action. Things look different when you can do well by doing good.

SØREN HERMANSEN: We like the turbines better because we own them. We don't have the discussion about the ugly and the landscape. We don't have noise problems and the birds for some reason don't die around these turbines.

PHILLIPS: Jorgen Tranberg earns as much by selling wind and solar power as he makes from cattle and crops.

JORGEN TRANBERG: That wind turbine there helped pay back two, three times.

PHILLIPS:: That turbine has repaid itself two or three times over?

TRANBERG: Yes. It's a very good feeling.

PHILLIPS: The good-news Samsø story has brought us here once before. When we first visited here nine years ago, we found despite the lack of fossil fuels, the morning shower was hot, and it's still hot, but much has changed here, including the shower curtain color. Samsø, which was one considered to be at the radical edge of the response the climate change is now considered the model of how it should be done. Now at the energy academy here, politicians and environmentalists from around the world come to study the Samso way.

HERMANSEN: In Japan they call it viking leadership. I don't know what they --

PHILLIPS: And there's more. They're working on another scheme now to stop running the new ferry on fossil fuels and to convert it to the methane that comes out of the back of the island's pigs. They're not finished here yet.


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