Denmark pledges 400 million to Climate Fund

Announcing a 400 million kroner commitment at the UN Climate Summit in New York, PM Helle Thorning Schmidt said that "everyone must help" developing countries reach global climate change goals.

Denmark pledges 400 million to Climate Fund
Prior to her participation at the climate summit, Thorning-Schmidt spoke at the Clinton Global Initiative conference. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Scanpix
In New York on Tuesday, Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt committed 400 million kroner ($69 million) to the UN’s Green Climate Fund.
Speaking at the UN Climate Summit, Thorning-Schmidt said Denmark’s contribution to the fund would help developing countries reach their climate goals. 
“Developing countries’ CO2 emissions have grown so much and are now so big that we can not reach our goals without doing something about it. Therefore, everyone must help,” she said after speaking at the summit, according to Ritzau.
The prime minister said that the new commitment will add to the more than two billion kroner ($345 million) Denmark has contributed to global climate goals. 
“This is an effort that has been acknowledged internationally, and I hope that with this we can help push other countries in the same direction,” she said. 
With the world failing to meet stated climate goals, Thorning-Schmidt has joined the leaders of 120 nations in New York City for the UN Summit Climate, where negotiations will begin on a new climate treaty that is hoped to be signed in Paris next year. 
France on Tuesday also committed up to $1 billion to the climate fund, which was set up at the COP15 talks in Copenhagen in 2009, when developed countries committed to mobilising funds for developing countries' efforts against climate change. 

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‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.