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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Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

After another round of negotiations with acting Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Moderate leader Lars Løkke Rasmussen says it’s beside the point if his party joins Frederiksen’s vision of a ‘broad, central’ government.

Moderate party downplays importance of joining new Danish government 

Rasmussen, who was Prime Minister before Frederiksen when leader of the Liberal (Venstre) party, led the newly-formed Moderates into parliament in their first election on a platform of installing a centrist government.

The Moderates have a relatively strong hand in the negotiations with their 16 seats from 9.3 percent of the vote share in the election, which took place one month ago.

“For us, it’s not a separate ambition to be part of such a government,” Rasmussen said outside of the prime minister’s official residence at Marienborg on Wednesday.

“Whether we are in or not is less important. But we want to put ourselves in a position where we can influence the content. That’s what matters,” he said. 

“It strikes me that Mette Frederiksen and I go a long way towards sharing the analysis of what’s good for Denmark,” he added.

READ ALSO: What does Denmark’s Liberal party want from government negotiations?

Rasmussen has previously backed a potential government involving the Social Democrats and Liberals along with the Moderates, calling it an “excellent starting point”.

But he said on Wednesday that his party could lend support to a central coalition without being part of the government itself.

The Moderates could be influential “by forming the parliamentary basis for a government which consists of parties from both sides of the infamous political centre,” he said.

Although the centrist party is heavily involved in talks led by Frederiksen, it does not have decisive seats which could give either the left or right wings an overall majority. The left wing ‘red bloc’ took a single-seat victory in the November 1st election, meaning a left-wing government could be formed without the support of the Moderates.

But Frederiksen has eschewed the option of a government reliant on the support of the parties furthest to the left, the Red Green Alliance and Alternative, maintaining her pre-election pledge to seek a coalition across the centre.

There is no majority which could put a ‘blue bloc’ or conservative government in place.

READ ALSO: Five things to know about the Danish election result