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Fears are not mutually exclusive

You can be threatened by both climate change and Islamism at once, said government minister Lene Espersen at the University of Copenhagen

In August, Minister of Economic and Business Affairs, Lene Espersen did her best to scare the readers of the Danish newspaper Politiken.

»The greatest threat to us – and I say this even with the upcoming Climate Change Conference and all sorts of other things in mind – is militant Islamic fundamentalism, and the undermining of the rights that we have fought for in the West for hundreds of years,« said Lene Espersen in the interview.

Friday 30 October, however, the conservative minister, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, held a Climate Lecture which was pretty frightening too. It all happened at the University of Copenhagen’s new Green Lighthouse.

Asks the Islam question

Lene Espersen’s Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs has just publicised a so-called ‘Business Climate Strategy’. Climate change is threatening us too:

»To start with maybe only in the form of flooded basements, higher insurance rates and price mark-ups in supermarkets,« but it will get worse, she says.

It is »the global challenge of the century,« according to Espersen.

Wait a minute. What about Islam? Has Islam been downgraded? It might not be on today’s agenda, but while we are here, it would be silly not to try to find out how the deputy Prime Minister rates this fear. So our Danish sister-site, Universitetsavisen, asked her.

The climate and the terror

»Following the discovery of the planned terror attack on Jyllands-Posten (the Danish newspaper that caused controversy with the Muhammed drawings, ed.) the other day, I don’t believe there are many Danes who laugh off the idea that Islamism is still a threat,« Lene Espersen begins, referring to the recent arrest of the two men in Chicago.

»I may have been ridiculed when I allowed myself to say that there are still groups with terrible intentions around the world, but now it has certainly been confirmed that this is the case, and Denmark is in focus in this area« she continues.

Stopping climate change is easy

»What separates politicians from businessmen, is that we should be able to multi-task, and be absorbed in several things at once. And I believe that you can be engaged in fighting militant extremism by sending soldiers to Afghanistan, and still do something about the climate threat, which is a huge threat.«

»The difference between the two threats,« according to Espersen, »is that I actually believe we can solve the threat of climate change through global leadership, and political, binding agreements. The other threat cannot be solved by politicians alone, I think, and it is going to take many, many years. There are generations upon generations upon generations that have lived in a completely different way, so it’s tougher,« she adds.

»It’s not just something to do with signing an agreement in Copenhagen«.,

The University of Copenhagen has a climate change site, with a list of guest lecturers and documentation in the form of papers and webcasts.