Danish opposition parties bemoan absence of climate urgency in Budget

But it did include plans to cut funding for its very own Climate Council by two-thirds, just weeks after the panel criticised its recent initiatives

A DR report draws attention to how many times the word ‘climate’ was mentioned in the 2023 Budget, a frugal set of plans focused on curbing inflation, which was yesterday made public by the finance minister, Nicolai Wammen.

And it is not a pretty score, given the ticking bomb of the climate crisis, and how the 2023 Budget is 16 pages long: just once!

“We have one of the world’s most ambitious climate goals, and there is a need to accelerate the green transition,” read the Budget’s only mention.

Wammen has already rubbished DR’s claims, pointing out that he “mentioned the climate crisis at least ten times, and if it is not in the foreword, then it is an oversight”. 

But many parties outside the government have been quick to register their disappointment – most notably Red Bloc allies Enhedslisten, SF and Alternativet.

Timing couldn’t have been worse
Given the alarm bells set off by the recent UN Climate Panel report, which urged immediate action by the end of the decade to limit the future effect of the climate crisis, it is a missed opportunity to not include some sort of ‘emergency package’, complains Christina Olumeko, the finance spokesperson for Alternativet.

“It is a financial law that is devoid of climate initiatives. It doesn’t work when we have a climate crisis,” she told DR.

According to Denmark’s own Climate Act, the country must deliver a 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030, which includes achieving a partial goal in 2025. But increasingly, this interim goal is looking out of reach. 

“Emissions must be stopped during this year if we are to reach the goal, and unfortunately the government is not taking any new strong initiatives to do so,” lamented Pelle Dragsted from Enhedslisten.

Founding cut for Climate Council
The parties are flabbergasted that the government has cut well over half of the funding for the Climate Council, a panel of Danish experts who since 2015 have been advising the government with regards to its climate policy.

According to the terms of the Budget, the council’s grant will fall from 24.8 million kroner in 2023 to 9.3 million in 2024 – a “disappointing” decision, complained Signe Munk, the climate spokesperson for SF.

“The Climate Council is an absolutely central part of the Climate Act. They provide guidance on what can be done in the climate area, but they also hold any sitting government by the neck in terms of delivering climate policy,” she contended.

Enhedslisten’s political rapporteur Mai Villadsen went as far as calling it a “scandal” as the council has been critical of the government of late.

“It is a definite scandal that they want to remove millions from the climate council – which, on top of that, has just criticised the government’s climate initiatives in harsh terms,” she wrote on Twitter.

Already, council chair Peter Møllgaard has confirmed the funding cut will mean the council “cannot live up to the tasks described in the Climate Act, or deliver the analyses that ministries and other stakeholders in our Climate Dialogue Forum demand”.

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