Climate is Danish election’s biggest draw, report finds

Climate is top of the agenda on the eve of the general election, according to a Roskilde University study.

Climate is Danish election’s biggest draw, report finds
Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix

***REMINDER: Follow the results of the Danish election live with The Local from 8pm on Wednesday***

Analysts reached their conclusion based on just under 100 Danish media reports and selected television and radio broadcasts.

“All studies are showing that the public sees (climate) as very high on its agenda, and that’s why it’s also high on the agenda for the election,” said professor Mark Ørsten, the lead researcher on the Roskilde University project.

“This has been the case for a while, but is a real big deal this time around and probably also had an impact on the European elections,” Ørsten said.

READ ALSO: Danish green party frustrated over sluggish European election result

High focus on immigration and refugees at the beginning of the campaign period has eventually been superseded by climate in media coverage, researchers found.

Early in the campaign season, up to 20 percent of media discussion revolved around the issues of immigration and refugees. That has now receded to 9 percent, while climate takes up 25 percent of coverage.

“When refugees and migrants topped the agenda at the beginning of the election, that was closely connected to (Stram Kurs leader) Rasmus Paludan. It has been pushed into the background with Paludan now less at the forefront,” Ørsten said.

“But it is also because the public still has climate and the environment on their agenda.

“Politicians also read opinion polls and try to adapt to the focus of the public,” he added.

READ ALSO: How two decades of immigration curbs moved far-right politics into Denmark's mainstream

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Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Denmark's parliament has given the go-ahead to build Lynetteholm, a giant artificial island that will protect Copenhagen's harbour waters from rising sea levels at the same times as providing homes for 35,000 people.

Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen
How the island will look while udner construction. Photo: By og Havn

The bill empowering the government to push ahead with the project passed with a massive majority of 85 in favour and 12 against, opening the way for work to push ahead on the 2.8 square kilometer island early as this autumn.

In a short debate on Friday morning, Thomas Jensen, the Social Democrat MP coordinating the bill, dismissed claims that not enough had been done to assess the environmental consequences of what has been described as the largest construction project in Danish history.

“Of the bills I have helped to implement here in the parliament, this is the one which has been most thoroughly discussed, with expert consultations, technical reviews, and almost 200 questions to the Ministry of Transport, which have been answered by the rapporteurs,” he said. “So in terms of process, it is completely worked out.”


Ahead of the vote protesters from the Stop Lynetteholm Facebook group staged a protest outside the parliament, with many dressed in Sean the Sheep costumes. 

Protesters dressed as sheep staged a demonstration against the Lynetteholm project outside the parliament. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The parliamentary vote is not the last hurdle.

The project is also being challenged in the European Court of Justice, on the grounds that the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)  have looked at the impact of constructing the island itself, but not of the roads, metro lines, housing and other developments which will go on it.

Lynetteholm is being built partly as a coastal protection project, with a dam that will protect Copenhagen from future storm surges.

The plan was first announced in 2018 by the then Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the then Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.