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Jesper Theilgaard: Climate compensation is a good solution for the here and now

This week, Copenhagen Airport will be certified CO2 neutral, based on climate compensation. The meteorologist and climate advisor, Jesper Theilgaard, calls this a great stop-gap solution with, for example, climate projects abroad while continuing the work of finding sustainable solutions for the future. 

Copenhagen Airport has reached a milestone in its climate strategy with its certification as a CO2-neutral airport*. This is the result of a large-scale climate project in the country of Laos, which will compensate for the CO2 emitted by the airport itself.

Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) is responsible for the certification. According to the meteorologist and climate advisor, Jesper Theilgaard, climate compensation is the best solution for many companies here and now. 

“Climate compensation is the best solution right now, together with a strong focus on energy efficiency. The international community has an urgent responsibility to reduce CO2 emissions because the climate cannot wait for us to finish our discussions or invent new technological solutions. The climate needs action right now. So it doesn't matter whether it's CO2 in Denmark or in the rest of the world," says Jesper Theilgaard.

That is precisely one of the reasons why Copenhagen Airport chose to invest in a climate project in Laos, ensuring the production and distribution of energy-efficient stoves. But they were also looking for a project, which could achieve more than just climate compensation. The Laos project will lead to benefits in terms of climate, health and the local community.

“We were looking for a partner and a project that met our demands for quality, credibility, impact on the local environment and lasting climate improvements. After careful guidance and discussion with expert consultants from NIRAS, we chose the project in Laos," says Thomas Woldbye.

"We believe that the international NGO Nexus for Development and the local organisations ARMI and SNV Laos live up to our high standards of quality and transparency. And we are delighted that the project also facilitates real improvements in the everyday lives of the people of Laos - particularly in the northern districts of Laos, which do not yet have access to the energy-efficient cookers," says the airport's CEO, Thomas Woldbye.

Climate compensation must not be a one-off
Even though the meteorologist and climate advisor, Jesper Theilgaard, believes that climate compensation is the best stop-gap solution, he also stresses how important it is for companies not to stop there.

"It goes without saying that climate compensation must not be a one-off and it’s important for it to be the right kind of compensation. Afforestation and efficiency improvements are good methods, while CO2 quotas are one of the worst. It is vital not only for the business community but for citizens throughout the world to look at how we can help the climate in the future. Because if we don’t begin to figure out how to do things in the future, when it comes to climate challenges, then the future doesn’t look particularly bright," predicts Jesper Theilgaard.

This statement is consistent with Copenhagen Airport's climate strategy, which is focused on finding solutions for the future. 

“I totally agree with Jesper Theilgaard. The project in Laos is not a one-off. That is why the airport will also continue its targeted efforts to implement new measures that will lead to lasting reductions of CO2 emissions from the entire airport, including buildings, operations, as well as ground and air traffic. We are focusing particularly on increasing the percentage of renewable energy and on established partnerships, so that the airport can expand in an environmentally responsible and climate-friendly way," says Thomas Woldbye.

“We are also working on coming up with new sustainable fuels and finding new ways of limiting emissions, using both existing and new technology. Our ultimate goal is for the airport’s operations and ground transport to be emission free by 2030, and for the airport to be free of all CO2 emissions by 2050,” concludes Thomas Woldbye.


  • In April 2019, CPH signed an agreement with the international NGO, Nexus for Development, for the commencement of climate compensation via the ‘Improved Cookstoves’ in Laos.
  • The cooperation agreement is the result of an exhaustive tender process, led by experts from NIRAS, one of Scandinavia’s leading consultant engineering companies, who have also seen the project in situ.
  • The main criteria for choosing the project include the facts that: it is certified as a Gold Standard project; it is going on in one of the least developed countries in the world; and the type of project (climate-friendly cookers) features on the list of projects we believe to be highly credible (cf. the aviation industry’s global climate certification ACA’s (Airport Carbon Accreditation) guidelines for climate compensation).
  • The project is an investment project, in which CPH finances the training and education of local people in the production of climate-friendly cookers, quality control of the production, implementation and follow-up on the project, and promotion through local marketing campaigns.
  • Two local partners, ARMI and SNV Laos, will ensure sound implementation of the project.
  • Climate compensation will be achieved in the shape of VERs (Verified Emission Reductions) and is Gold Standard certified.
  • The project contributes to the following UN global goals:
    • 3: Good Health and Well-Being: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
    • 7: Affordable and Clean Energy: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
    • 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
    • 13: Climate Action: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
    • 15: Life on Land: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • In March 2019, CPH launched its climate strategy, which, for one thing, obligates the Airport to become COneutral by supporting projects both in Denmark and throughout the world that reduce CO2. The Airport is working determinedly to eliminate CO2 emissions by 2030, thereby continuously reducing the need for climate compensation.
  • Read more about the project and CPH’s climate strategy and initiatives on
  • Read more about Nexus for Development on

*When we refer to Copenhagen Airport in the context of CO2 emissions, we are referring to the emissions from the operation of the actual airport, and not shops, restaurants, airlines and other companies located in/at the airport or operating from the airport.