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Denmark to fund climate sceptic Lomborg

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Bjørn Lomborg. Photo: Linda Kastrup/Scanpix
13:19 CEST+02:00
The controversial climate researcher Bjørn Lomborg is set to make a comeback in Danish climate change discourse as the Venstre government intends to subsidize his organization.

The government plans to include funding for the Climate Consensus, an organization founded by Danish statistician and climate debater Bjørn Lomborg, in its upcoming budget.

Lomborg is an outspoken critic of prevailing climate change projections, which he dismisses as exaggerated and based on selective evidence.

He was head of the short-lived Institute for Environmental Assessment (Institut for Miljøvurdering), founded by the Venstre-Conservative government in 2002 to ensure that the country's environmental targets were met in the most economically efficient way possible.

Critics argued that the institute was a way for the government at the time to counter the influence of environmentalists and climate change advocates.

See also: Greenland's ice sheet melting at rapid pace

Lomborg left the institution in 2004 and has since spent much of his time abroad lecturing and campaigning against what he sees as a flawed scientific consensus on climate change, primarily through Climate Consensus.

Denmark's minister for the environment, Lars Christian Lilleholt, told Berlingske that the purpose of funding the organization was to add more voices to the discourse on climate change, which he feels has become too “one-sided” and “elitist”.

Other parties in the blue bloc have applauded the proposal and have indicated that they are likely support it when it comes to a vote.

The libertarian-leaning Liberal Alliance's climate and energy spokesman, Vilum Christensen, is among those who look forward to Lomborg's return to the Danish climate change debate.

“The government will not be missing our votes if the intention is to develop a more nuanced discourse on climate challenges,” Christensen told Jyllands-Posten.

See also: Sea levels to rise up to 1.6m around Denmark

Several Danish climate researchers have found the decision baffling, however. Katherine Richardson, leader of the Sustainability Science Centre at Copenhagen University, wonders why the government would fund Lomborg, who has made quite the international name for himself.

“It would be interesting to conduct an analysis of how often Lomborg has been in the media despite not having had state funding,” Richardson told Information.

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“I don't think that he has been excluded from the media in any way. I absolutely don't want to silence him, but I don't see any evidence that his views have been absent from the debate,” she added.

Connie Hedegaard, the former EU commissioner for the environment and current chairman of the KR Foundation, also questioned the proposal, finding it odd that a liberal government feels that it is necessary to provide funding to Lomborg.

“Lomborg has done quite well for himself with grants that he gets around the world and from his private earnings,” Hedegaard told Information, adding that she thought liberal parties were generally against subsidizing endeavours that could stand on their own.

“And as far as I can see, Lomborg has quite a few income sources, including from various climate-sceptic think tanks," she said. 

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