Two weeks ago, the citizens of Denmark elected Helle Thorning-Schmidt as the country's first female prime minister. And in the period since, negotiators from the three parties working to form a new coalition government have hinted at the kinds of policy decisions the left-center coalition will be making to set it apart from the outgoing right-leaning government. One such policy change could strip funding from an institute headed by Bjorn Lomborg, the so-called "skeptical environmentalist" and a controversial figure in climate politics. The Danish political scientist, who has denied that he is a climate change skeptic, per se, has raised the hackles of climate activists for his downplaying of the seriousness of climate change.
“We’re negotiating the government, which includes the budget,” said Social Democrat environmental spokesperson Mette Gjerskov, according to state broadcaster DRA and the Copenhagen Post. “Our starting point is that money which is given to people who do not agree that there are climate change problems should be chucked out."
Lomborg's Copenhagen Consensus Center receives 1.6 million dollars annually from the Danish government in a deal worked out by the outgoing conservative government. The government funding has long drawn criticism from Danish climate activists.
“Researchers should get their money through the systems that we already have in place. It’s been very strange that particular researchers have received special treatment due to ideology. We’re going to run fiscal policy differently,” Ida Auken from the Socialist People’s Party said, “We’re not persecuting anyone. We just want to use the money differently.”
Representatives of the incoming coalition government would not comment on the future of the Copenhagen Consensus Center specifically, because it was a budgetary matter still being hammered out by the negotiators.
Photo: Tim Hurst/Ecopolitology