Denmark raises money to fight climate change in TV first as protesters and politicians continue European environment fight

A summer of activism across the continent has pushed the climate debate up the political agenda

Protesters from Extinction Rebellion hold up anti-fashion placards as they block a road on the third day of London Fashion Week in London on September 15, 2019. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N
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Danish television viewers donated around €2.4 million (Dh 9.8 million) for the planting of trees in a television event billed as the world’s first to focus on climate issues.

Almost a million trees will be planted in the Scandinavian country, with 20 per cent of the funds raised going to forest conservation efforts in Denmark and abroad.

"It's a positive way to inspire people, showing how to make a difference, with a small act to tackle the climate crisis," said Kim Nielsen, founder of the Growing Trees Network Foundation, which is part of the project.

"It's the first time a charity show has focused on climate issues on TV, it's very exciting," he told AFP.

According to a recent survey published by the European Commission, 83 per cent of Danes consider climate change to be a "very serious" problem.

The event underlined the increasing popularity and importance of climate change activism across Europe, with protests and policies planned to keep the climate debate at the top of the political agenda.

In Germany on Sunday, activists blockaded the main entrance of the Frankfurt Motor Show in a protest against what they call the “climate and environment destroyers” produced by the country’s auto industry.

Between 15,000 and 25,000 turned out for the protest at one of the car industry’s largest shows, attracting more than 800,000 viewers each year.

Angela Merkel’s coalition government is due to announce a major climate package that could cost as much as €5 billion per year.

Parties in government are expected to present their plans, which include measures like extending grants for electric car buyers, expanding Germany’s network of charging stations and raising road taxes for polluting vehicles, on September 20.

The coalition partners are divided on how to finance Germany's march towards a green future, with Merkel's conservatives cast as more eager to ensure that the burden of financing the measures does not hurt German industry.

According to a source familiar with the talks, the climate protection measures the government wants to unveil on Friday could cost at least €40 billion until 2023.

In the UK, arrests continue after climate activists planned to shut down the country’s busiest airport using drones.

Extinction Rebellion co-founder Robert Hallam is among the 19 people have now been arrested.

London Fashion Week was hit by protests last week organised by Extinction Rebellion, with demonstrators gluing themselves to the doors of the organisers’ headquarters on Friday.

Protests against the fashion industry are due to continue this week, and on Friday school students are due to strike as part of a global action against climate change capping off a summer of widespread European climate activism.