Lord Mayor of the City of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen gives details of how the City is becoming the first CO2 neutral capital in Europe…
Reducing CO2 emissions is just a small part of being a sustainable city. Equally as important is expanding our economy and ultimately improving the quality of life of our residents.
Copenhagen is one of the most ambitious cities in the world when it comes to setting sustainability goals – and reaching them. By 2025 we aim to make Copenhagen the first CO2 neutral capital in the world, and we are already well on our way. This agenda is the reason why Copenhagen has been awarded the European Green Capital Award 2014.
Cities play a decisive role in ensuring a more sustainable future. More than half of the world’s population lives in cities, and they are responsible for about 75% of all CO2 emissions. In Copenhagen, the number of residents will increase rapidly in the coming years, and it is important that we expand and develop our city in a sustainable way.
Intelligent urban planning and smart building in a city with fast population growth is needed to prevent an increase of CO2 emissions in a city whose goals, among others, are to be CO2 neutral in 2025. Copenhagen is already seeing results as we have seen a decrease by 20% since 2005. We are determined to reach our goals by installing 100 wind turbines, investing in solar panels, and converting our power stations from fossil fuels to biomass.
Cycling is the fastest and cleanest way of getting around, and 36% of the citizens in and outside Copenhagen use their bikes to work or school in the city every day. We have put a lot of effort in planning and developing our city in a greener way. New wider bicycle lanes, improved design of intersections, and behavioural campaigns have meant that we have set a goal which aims for 50% of Copenhageners to ride their bikes to work or education.
Reducing CO2 emissions is just a small part of being a sustainable city. Equally as important, is expanding our economy and ultimately, improving the quality of life of our residents. In times of economic crisis, we need to find new ways to create economic growth and new jobs.
There are benefits to improving bicycle infrastructure, building more sustainably in the city, and cleaning the harbour. The returns can be not only be measured by a better climate, environment and improvement of health and better quality of life, but also in terms of hard cash. Investments will bring returns. It is estimated that more than half of the investments put into improving the energy efficiency of schools, cultural centre’s, homes and offices will be repaid through operational savings for example on energy costs, by 2025. Building bicycle infrastructure, for example, leads to more people taking their bikes to work, which in turn leads to improved health and lower medical costs, as well as a decrease in CO2 emissions and air pollution.
Initiatives like this cannot be accomplished by the city council alone. It requires a great deal of involvement from citizens and partnerships with businesses in order to succeed. Our ambition is to make Copenhagen an international centre for clean tech companies. Already, there are about 500 companies and about 30,000 people work in the clean tech sector in the Danish Capital Region. The OECD has identified Copenhagen as a global leader when it comes to creating growth and jobs in this area, and the growth in the Green Sector is substantially higher than in other sectors in Copenhagen and Denmark.
A big part of the reason for the clean tech sector’s success in Copenhagen is the political focus and the accompanying investments. With a carbon neutral
Copenhagen on the horizon, Danish clean tech companies have a unified platform to demonstrate green Danish technologies.
As the European Green Capital we want to share our experiences and solutions with other cities, but also learn from other sustainable projects in the world.
The theme for European Green Capital 2014 in Copenhagen is “Sharing”. We have great traditions of including our citizens. According to surveys, Copenhagen is in fact the third most including city in Europe and we want them to share the city even more than they already do. In collaboration with more than 75 partner organisations and businesses, the City of Copenhagen has planned over 200 activities throughout the year for both Copenhageners and visitors, but we also want the world to join, share and be inspired.
Sharing good solutions will be pivotal; we will be sharing solutions and experiences at events at conferences, masterclasses, guided tours and events across the city. We are looking forward to welcoming the world and sharing our green solutions.
City of Copenhagen