DK QueenMargrethe2

On Friday, April 10, the Queen of Denmark made a set of startling comments about anthropogenic climate change that go completely against the scientific consensus. And this came at a most unfortunate time in Denmark’s up to recent abiding by the developing scientific evidence over how to best protect society from the deadly COVID-19 fast-transmitting disease.

The Danish monarchy is considered Europe’s oldest in descent, and despite the institution’s vestigial status as a national symbol or identity, and economic burden on taxpayers as well as its extreme carbon footprint per member of the royal family, it has a majority support of its citizens. So what Queen Margrethe 2 says publicly will have a powerful impact upon the minds of many Danes. And for Danes caught in the worst national crisis since the Nazi Occupation, with a pandemic not seen since just after WW I, it’s important for as many as possible to appropriately respond to what the scientific method is finding evidence for regarding any threat to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness... civilization... the future of our children and theirs.

curve DK(By having followed most of the recommendations put forth by scientific evidence, here's how well Denmark has done up to the fifth week of the pandemic.  The red curve was Denmark's worst case projection, way above its health care system's capacity to treat ICU patients.  The green curve represented a hoped-for scenario... and the blue line is the actual scenario.  What concerns some experts is that the government may be fooling itself into believing it's safe enough now to relax.)

That’s particularly important at this moment. For the first time since the pandemic hit Denmark, its people find themselves getting confused by conflicting information between the Ministry of Health and some virologists from the Danish scientific community and WHO (World Health Organization).  Going against some of these expert recommendations, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s government just eased social distancing rules to allow groups of children back to schools and kindergartens after Easter, and allow more workforce into industry as an economy boosting strategy.

In an interview that was supposed to have been about her upcoming 80th birthday, Queen Margrethe 2 fielded a question about climate change. She said that there was no need to panic. And as far as “...people playing a role in climate change, there’s likely no doubt about that. But I am not convinced that we are the direct cause of it.”

In response, Member of Parliament, Uffe Elbæk, said, ”For the first, she says, there's no need to panic. If that’s how she feels about it, then she hasn’t understood the problem. Climate change is perhaps the most challenging problem civilization is facing... And she’s politicizing the issue by suggesting that climate change is not a man-made... What she’s saying on the subject is equal to Donald Trump’s statements. She’s contradicting science, and making people feel uncertain about whether or not human activity is the cause of climate change.”

Elbæk went on to say that the queen is an intelligent woman. “So it’s not a lack of knowledge that led her to say that. It’s the most vulnerable peoples of the planet who are now being hit by this. It’s hard to even imagine how socially unfair climate change is. So it rises to an extra degree of provocation when a high placed institution [Danish monarchy] speaks from its privileged status, to proclaim that there's no need to be extremely concerned.”

In contrast, Søren Espersen of the Danish People’s Party offers only praises for the queen’s statement, stating, “Her majesty’s interview serves as a good defense against Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s message...” that we need to act post haste.

Member of Parliament, Sikandar Siddique, agrees with Uffe Elbæk, and describes the queen’s statement as “unfortunate, because we are caught in an existential crisis [with anthropogenic climate change]... What [Margrethe 2] said is irresponsible in every way imaginable. This is the Monarchy interfering with a serious and current political discussion. And [for our queen] to do so with a disregard to the scientific evidence is of course problematic. We are in a situation where climate disasters are ever more knocking on our door. The scientific community is in consensus here. ”

He went on: “We are talking about 250 million climate refugees. We’re talking about escalating food shortages and extreme weather that will kill millions. If that’s not a catastrophe, if that’s not a reason to act now, what then is ? I find the attitude she expressed on climate to be unfortunately a politicized one, one which should not find place, and one which also belongs to a bygone chapter in history.”

In response to her right to express her opinion, Siddique argues that "the monarchy must be cautious in interfering with our political debates, and especially so if it is done with such disregard to science that it becomes inappropriate... [so] yesterday I asked the government [of Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen] to state whether or not it agrees with the queen's unscientific and incorrect statements about the climate crisis. I would also ask of the government to present the problem to the monarchy, of it having directly interfered in a political debate, and in a way which actually harms Denmark’s position as a pioneer in the climate crisis."

During the interview, Margrethe also explained that climate naturally changes with time, and on that point, Siddique replied, “We consume and use the globe's resources as if we had three or four planets. The climate crisis we are facing is man-made. And it occurred as a direct result of our way of living and exploiting the planet’s resources in ways that make it impossible for nature to recover. It is a problem when our monarch makes statements to the effect that this climate change is just nature doing its thing."

Bent Lorentzen

Bent Lorentzen

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