Damning the Danes: Canada Not the Only Backslider in Poznan

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Canada climate-change record is so frequently criticized at the UN climate conference in Poznan, Poland, that its tempting to think everyone else is doing the right thing in enacting good climate policy. But one “good example” frequently cited – Denmark – has, since 2001, taken a villainous turn on the climate file.

Denmark is famous for its windmills, and especially for its mid-80s policy promoting the use of alternative energy sources for the generation of electricity. Thanks to that policy, Denmark now generates nearly 20 per cent of its electricity from wind and the Danish wind industry, which employs 20,000 people, dominates the international market.

But since the election in 2001 of the right-of-centre Liberal-led coalition of Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark has been pulling back on its wind promotion and easing restrictions on coal-fired power plants, according to Tove Ryding of CARE International. The wind industry is now surviving on its own strength, while the government is actively pushing the door open to accommodate more dangerous climate-changing energy alternatives, Ryding says.

The other example of Denmark’s climate perfidy is its ongoing support of Rasmussen’s favourite climate “expert” – the pseudo-denier Bjorn Lomborg.

Lomborg, the self-styled “skeptical environmentalist,” is widely condemned for his disingenous argument that the world’s governments can safely ignored climate change mitigation, diverting any spending to poverty reduction in the alternative. In support of this argument, Prime Minister Rasmussen set up the Danish “Environmental Assessment Institute” which specializes in making environmental and economic cost/benefit analyses, and appointed Lomborg as executive director.

As he proved again with his newest book, Cool It, Lomborg is more than willing to cherry pick data in order to distract people from the danger of climate change – and the denier community is more than willing to cosy up to Lomborg for its own purposes. As Denmark’s reputation for responsible climate policy slips further over the edge, Prime Minister Rasmussen will have to take responsibility for Lomberg’s shenanigans, as well. 

Richard Littlemore is in Poznan reporting for DeSmoglog. He is the first blogger to ever be given full media credentials by the United Nations.

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