Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Can Copenhagen Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2025?

Energy
Wind turbines off the coast of Copenhagen. Holger Leue / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

Copenhagen has set itself the ambitious goal of going carbon neutral — generating more renewable energy than it consumes from fossil fuels — by 2025. If it succeeds, it will be the first capital in the world to do so, according to the city's website.


"We will achieve these goals through a transition of our energy supply, building retrofits, waste management, public infrastructure and mobility, as well as other key initiatives to support the transition on both a short-term and long-term basis," the website declares.

Its efforts could serve as a blueprint for other cities looking to take climate action, The New York Times wrote in an in-depth profile Monday. But it also faces obstacles, including a rural-urban divide on the problem of reducing car use.

"It's a political challenge. It's not a technological challenge," Copenhagen Mayor Frank Jensen told The New York Times.

Specifically, the Denmark's center-right national government has refused to restrict diesel vehicles in the city. Copenhagen has already reduced emissions by 42 percent compared to 2005 levels, but this has mostly been by phasing out the use of fossil fuels for heat and electricity. Emissions from transportation, on the other hand, account for a third of the city's footprint.

CleanTechnica illustrated the conundrum faced by the Danish capital:

Mayor Frank Jensen tells the New York Times that cities "can change the way we behave, the way we are living, and go more green." He says mayors, more than national politicians, feel the pressure to take action. "We are directly responsible for our cities and our citizens, and they expect us to act."

In a jarring example of theory versus reality, the two halves of that quote on the NY Times website are interrupted by an ad for the GMC Next Generation Sierra Denali. In Denmark, rural drivers are still wedded to their diesel-powered cars. The Danish government recently slashed registration taxes on new cars, a move that has had the effect of making electric cars more expensive.

However, there are many actions that Copenhagen has been able to take on its own, according to The New York Times.

1. It is scheduled to open a new Metro line this year that will place every resident within a little less than half a mile of a station.

2. It has made three-lane-wide bicycle lanes on busy city roads.

3 .It has invested in wind turbines and plans to sell renewable energy units for every fossil fuel unit it burns.

4. It uses a new trash incinerator to help heat buildings.

Despite these innovations, independent analysts say the city is unlikely to reach its 2025 goal. Some also argue that the city's strategy focuses too much on offseting carbon use rather than transforming its residents' lifestyles.

"We run around in fossil fuel burning cars, we eat a lot of meat, we buy a hell of a lot of clothes," Fanny Broholm, a spokeswoman for left-leaning green party Alternativet, told The New York Times. "The goal is not ambitious enough as it is, and we can't even reach this goal."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less