Danish government yields to demand for more ambitious 2025 climate goal

Denmark's government has bowed to pressure from its left-of-centre parliamentary allies, and agreed to a new, challenging target to bring greenhouse gas emissions to half 1990 levels by 2025.

Danish government yields to demand for more ambitious 2025 climate goal
Nicolai Wammen announces the results of the talks on Friday. Photo: Philip Davali/Ritzau Scanpix

In talks on Friday, the Social Liberal, Socialist Left, and Red-Green Alliance parties had all demanded a tougher target than the 46-50 percent reduction proposed by the government, managing in the talks to push through a 50-54 percent cut.

“We have agreed on an intermediate climate goal,” Denmark’s finance minister Nicolai Wammen, said after the political agreement was announced.

“This is an extremely ambitious goal, and a sign that we have listened to each other and that the government has met this very strong wish from the support parties.”

The Danish Council on Climate Change had also recommended an intermediary target of 50-54 percent, arguing that this was what was needed for Denmark to be on track to meet its 2030 goal. 

“This means a lot,” the council’s chair Peter Møllgaard told state broadcaster DR. “This increases the probability that we can reach 70 percent in 2030. And that makes it cheaper, because we get to move some of the necessary changes forward in time.” 

“Those small percentages actually mean a lot,” he continued. “If this intermediary goal had not been reached, the government would have been able to get its hands dirty for the rest of its mandate period. This means that they have to get moving right now.” 

An analysis by the Danish Energy Agency showed that if Denmark continued with policies currently in place, it could expect to reduce emissions in 2025 by about 47 percent, meaning the government now has to identify actions that can shave another three percent of 1990 emissions.

The decision came just two days after Germany also agreed to set more ambitious climate targets, following a high court ruling that its current goal of 65 percent reductions on 1990 levels “insufficient” to safeguard the future of younger citizens. 

Denmark’s parliament last summer voted through a new Climate Act, which enshrined in law its ambitious goal to cut emissions by 70 percent from 1990 levels by 2030. 

Pia Olsen Dyhr, leader of the Socialist Left party, celebrated the move.

“We have now tied the government securely to the mast once and for all to make sure that a green course has been set towards our climate goals,” she said. “This means that we are finally going to get the government to deliver the acute climate action that is so badly needed.”

None of the right-of-centre parliamentary parties were invited to the climate discussions, something they argued meant that Danish climate policy no longer had a mandate from all sides of the political spectrum. 

“There needs to be a will to do this thing together and not just with a narrow, red majority,” complained Tommy Ahlers, climate spokesperson for the Liberal Party.

“If climate policy is suddenly going to turn pure red, they I’m afraid that will mean that instead of promoting job growth and business opportunity, they’ll start cutting back and banning things.”

Member comments

  1. Wild politicians think they can get a humanitarian gesture using climate change while their antipathic crimes such as sending Syrian asylum seekers to the African land of genocide, i.e., Rwanda will disgrace them forever in the history. Shame on Denmark!

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Former leader of Danish far-right party to quit at next election

Kristian Thulesen Dahl, the former leader of the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, announced on Friday that he will not run for re-election with the party in 2023.

Former leader of Danish far-right party to quit at next election

Dahl confirmed his decision to Denmark’s Radio4 on Friday, citing internal disputes in the party as the reason for his departure.

He did not rule out running at the next election with a different party, however.

“There has been so much going on in recent years and I hoped it had ended when I stepped down as leader in January. But it hasn’t stopped. It keeps on going,” he told Radio4.

The former leader of the Danish People’s Party (DF), who was a co-founder of the party in the 1990s and became its front figure in 2012, resigned after the party was trounced in November’s local elections.

He was replaced by Morten Messerschmidt at a party congress in January, but several DF members of parliament subsequently left the party, saying they would not work under Messerschmidt.

READ ALSO: Is the Danish People’s Party chaos a sign of far-right party’s impending collapse?

Dahl said that a discussion between himself and Messerschmidt over which spokesperson roles would be assigned to the ex-leader were part of the reason for his decision to leave parliament. Too much of the discussion was conducted publicly, according to Dahl.

The party leadership has publicly speculated in recent weeks as to whether additional spokesperson posts would be given to Dahl, who currently is responsible for defence.

“This is not the decisive factor in whether I continue in the parliamentary group, but it’s an indication that even here there’s no desire to build confidence by talking to each other, but instead about each other,” he said.

Dahl said he would remain a DF party member until the next general election, which will take place next year.