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How purchasing power is making Denmark more climate-friendly

In Denmark, participation in the fight for a better climate often takes the form of buying more climate-friendly goods and services.

How purchasing power is making Denmark more climate-friendly
Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

More than one in two adults has deliberately changed their consumption habits last year to become more climate-conscious, according to a study carried out by YouGov on behalf of Nordea. 

In the study, 1009 adults were asked about their purchasing habits. The sample is representative of age, gender and geography, according to Nordea.

The survey found that consumers in Denmark take climate crisis seriously, according to Ann Lehmann Erichsen, consumer economist with Nordea.

“The concept of trying to live in a more climate friendly way has actually become a key issue for the public. Climate-friendly habits are on the agenda of many families,” Erichsen said.

“This is not just something that interests young people in big cities or enthusiasts. It has spread across the whole country from north to south, from east to west and between young and old. Women and people under the age of 40 are particularly leading the way,” she added.

56 percent of respondents have changed their purchasing habits, the survey found.

That includes initiatives such as eating less meat, throwing less food away or choosing local products.

“This also applies to buying clothes, whereby people think about buying less or sometimes buying used things. And also to transport choices and holidays, where the train is taken rather than a plane,” Erichsen said.

Women have focused in particular on changing clothing and food habits, while men are increasingly thinking about climate-friendly modes of transport, the study found.

Although consumers back climate-friendly purchases, they draw the line at paying more for climate-friendly alternatives, however.

“Only one in three people think it is okay for climate-friendly options to cost more. Most prefer it not to cost extra, or they would rather do without,” Erichsen said.

Those who have not changed purchasing habits in the past year indicated in the survey that they do not believe their actions impact the climate.

“I think that's a real pity. Of course it matters what each of us uses when we add it all together,” Erichsen said.

READ ALSO: Climate is Danish election's biggest draw, report finds

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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.”

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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