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Danish government negotiations latest: parties yet to agree over climate goals

The environment, climate, nature, drinking water, effectivization of energy and a new state energy deal are all topics of discussion between Mette Frederiksen’s Social Democrats and other parties on the Danish left.

Danish government negotiations latest: parties yet to agree over climate goals
Mette Frederiksen speaking to press on Sunday. Photo: Thomas Sjørup / Ritzau Scanpix

After winning an overall majority in the June 5th general election, the left-of-centre group of ‘red bloc’ parties must now agree on a platform on which to back Frederiksen as the new PM.

Climate, a top priority for voters leading into the election, is an area in which the four parties – the Social Democrats, Social Liberals, Socialist People’s Party (SF) and Red Green Alliance – can all deliver on election promises, Frederiksen told Ritzau.

“The (parliamentary) majority voted for by Danes has the potential to really get things done. If we get the opportunity, we can show our children and young people that this wasn’t just talk, that we can make Denmark one of the greenest countries in the world,” she said prior to negotiations on Sunday.

The Red Green Alliance leader Pernille Skipper said that a key factor currently separating the parties is an exact target for reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions.

Along with the Red Green Alliance, both SF and the Social Liberals want greenhouse gas emissions to be reduced by 70 percent by 2030. The Social Democrat target is 60 percent.

“There’s a long way (to go). But this is what is crucial for us to meet our international commitments. It is one of the most important things we are discussing with relation to climate,” Skipper said.

Social Liberal leader Morten Østergaard called for ambition on climate targets.

“We don’t think you can get a reduction of 70 percent unless you aim for it. This is about having a level of ambition that drives development,” he said.

Østergaard’s party has said that taxes and fees, such as a levy on aircraft CO2 emissions, can help offset the cost of green energy conversion.

Pia Olsen Dyhr, the leader of SF, noted the challenges of high 10-year targets but said parties were obliged to meet the demands of their voters.

“You have to say that there were many people on the palace square [at Christiansborg, location of parliament where climate demonstrations were held, ed.] fighting for green conversion to get into a higher gear. But I also have to say that it is not simple. We are aware of this in SF,” she said.

READ ALSO: Refugees to childcare: Five issues that could thwart talks to form Danish government

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CLIMATE

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.”

READ ALSO: 

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. 

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