|Denmark’s Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt in a TV debate with the leader of the opposition Lars Lokke Rasmussen. Photo credit: Jens Astrup / Venstre via Flickr.|
By Anders Lorenzen
Just over a month ago Brits went to the polls,in an election where you could search long and hard
to find any mention of climate change. Neither left nor right were concerned with the green agenda: even the Green Party hardly discussed it.
On the 18th of June, Danes go to the polls . And in this Scandinavian country, which is seen
as a world leader in green ambitions and policies, climate change and green issues could
play a leading role.
Denmark’s political parties are divided into a red group and a blue group (due to their long history of
coalition governments). The red group represents centre-left and left leaning parties, while the
blue group represents centre-right and right leaning parties.
There is a general acceptance by all Denmark’s parties that human-induced climate
change is real, but opinions about how it should be tackled and how Denmark should contribute vary
Red group almost consistent on green transition
Four of the five parties in the red group mention a green transition as one of their
three key issues. The only party not to highlight it is the largest party in the red group,
the Social Democrats, which is the party of current Prime Minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, leader of the coalition government. The green agenda does feature on their website, but further down the pecking order. It does claim that, under a Social Democratic led government, Denmark has become a world leader in that area.
The green agenda not to be found in the blue group
None of the parties in the blue group mentions anything about climate change or about green
issues. The Liberal Alliance party went even further when their climate spokesperson,
Villum Christensen, said that the there is not significant evidence to suggest that humans
are responsible for climate change. This caused outrage among environmentalists and
green groups, and later their party leader Anders Samuelsen, released a statement saying that, of course, they believed that climate change is primarily caused by human activity. On their website, however, climate change is not mentioned and so there is no discussion about reducing CO2 or increasing the share of renewables.
The dawn of a new green-minded party
In this election Denmark has got a new party on the left. The Alternative was
co-founded by former Culture Minister, Uffe Elbaek in 2013. In 2012 he resigned
his ministerial position in the Social Liberal Party, having become disillusioned with the direction the party had been taking. The Alternative wants
to reform Denmark’s society with a focus on environmental, economic, social and cultural
sustainability, and states that they want a real green transition for our children and grandchildren.
Other parties in the red group have other green slogans: The Social Liberal Party (Elbaek`s former party) declare `a green future is worth the price`, The Socialist People`s Party claims `an ambitious agenda that aids our climate and environment`, The Red-Green Alliance states `green transition is more important than blind growth`.
It seems that green-minded Danes have plenty of opportunities, come June the 18th, to cast
their votes on Denmark’s green future.