Denmark must change way of life to achieve climate targets: Frederiksen

After three left wing parties this week announced they had agreed on an ambitious new climate target, Social Democrat leader and likely new prime minister Mette Frederiksen said the whole country must work together to meet it.

Denmark must change way of life to achieve climate targets: Frederiksen
Mette Frederiksen says life in Denmark must change if climate targets are to be achieved. Photo: Tariq Mikkel Khan / Ritzau Scanpix

The Social Democrats, Socialist People's Party (SF) and Red Green Alliance on Wednesday evening reached agreement over a target to reduce Danish greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent by 2030.

“If we want to solve the climate crisis, we can’t avoid the fact we must change the way we live our lives, our homes and the way we transport ourselves,” Frederiksen said.

“70 percent is a remarkably ambitious target. That’s why you won’t see many other countries getting up to 70 percent,” the Social Democrat leader said.

According to an analysis by newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the target is equivalent to Denmark eliminating its entire greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and industry within ten years, as well as a large proportion of emissions from transport.

“Nobody has all the tools for us to reach 70 percent. We have to go out and create them together with Danish businesses and most of all based on research – in both the private and public sectors,” Frederiksen said.

“To put it in other words: we know what is needed to take the next step in regard to the energy and transport sectors, but nobody has the tools to reach 70 percent. We must go out and make them,” she continued.

The three parties, who, along with the Social Liberals, are locked in ongoing talks over a platform on which to back Frederiksen as the new PM, have not presented a financial plan in relation to the climate target.

A number of interest organisations have given estimated costs of 10 billion kroner or more, Ritzau writes.

Denmark’s greenhouse gas emissions constitute 0.11 percent of the global total.

READ ALSO: Environmental organizations cheer 'historic' Danish climate goal

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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.