Copenhagen aims to be first carbon neutral capital

March 17th, 2009 - 2:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Copenhagen, March 17 (IANS) The capital of Denmark has set itself the ambitious target of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital by 2025 by bringing its net carbon dioxide emissions down to zero.
The target was announced by the seven mayors of Copenhagen here Tuesday, while they launched the city’s new climate plan. The plan has 50 specific initiatives to achieve the city’s target of a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2015.

“We are launching an ambitious plan containing very specific initiatives to reduce CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions significantly. We are inviting the business community and the city’s inhabitants to work closely with us to demonstrate that the growth of the city and climate-friendly initiatives go hand in hand,” Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard said at the unveiling of the plan.

The plan includes the use of wind turbines, electric and hydrogen-powered cars and the refurbishment of schools and institutions. Electric- and hydrogen-powered cars will park for free and get recharged at street corners.

The city government is making a substantial investment in a wind turbine project, which will allow citizens to invest in green energy. By using biomass, the energy from power stations will be carbon-neutral.

“The global climate has presented us with a challenge: We must and will decrease CO2 emissions considerably. We could opt for the cheapest or the easiest solutions. But we are going for the green solution and the solutions that also create a healthier city. Because this is an investment in the future,” said Klaus Bondam, mayor of the Technical and Environmental Administration.

This December, Copenhagen is hosting three climate summits - the crucial summit of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a summit for mayors, and the Children’s Climate Change Forum.

The UNFCCC summit is expected to chart the way in which countries will combat climate change after 2012 when the first stage of the current tool, the Kyoto Protocol, comes to an end.

The mayors’ summit is expected to come up with practical steps that municipal governments can take to combat climate change. Cities account for 80 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity.

Climate change, caused by higher concentration of greenhouse gases - mainly carbon dioxide - in the atmosphere, is already reducing farm output, making droughts, floods and storms more frequent and more severe and raising the sea level, with developing countries bearing the brunt of the impact. The extra carbon dioxide comes mainly as a byproduct of industrial activities.

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