72 cities around the world join “Race to Zero” campaign – 46 of these are Danish

State of Green
By State of Green, December 16, 2020

An additional 72 cities and municipalities around the world are joining “Race to Zero”, a global campaign to mobilise cities, businesses, regions, and investors around a green and just recovery ahead of next year’s COP26 in Glasgow. A record-high 46 Danish municipalities have joined, so now a total of 66 Danish municipalities are in the race.

Denmark may be a small country, but it is not short on ambitions. 46 new Danish municipalities have boosted their local climate efforts and have pledged to net zero emissions of greenhouse gas before 2050.

The pledges are part of the Cities Race to Zero, an effort to support cities around the world in setting and reaching ambitious goals of net zero emissions with the best available expertise and tools, led by C40 cities and a handful of impactful partners. Ultimately, the campaign aims to recruit 1,000 cities around the world.

Realated news: C40 Office in Copenhagen to Connect Cities and Businesses 

The ambitious commitments were announced at the Climate Ambition Summit hosted by the UK, France and the UN, in partnership with Chile and Italy on 12 December 2020. The summit was a lead up the 26th Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), which will be held in Glasgow 1-12 November next year.

The DK2020 project

In Denmark, the local commitments were made possible through the ’DK2020 – Climate plans for all of Denmark’. In 2019, Realdania, a philanthropic association in Denmark, which supports projects in architecture and urban planning, set up the project ‘DK2020’ through which 20 Danish pilot municipalities developed new climate actions plans. Sonderborg was one of the pioneering municipalities and have already reduced CO2 by nearly 40 per cent since 2007 despite increased energy consumption.

To expand the project scope, the parties behind the project – Realdania, Local Government Denmark and the five Danish regions – invited all Danish municipalities to develop ambitious climate actions plans in September last year. Of them, 46 municipalities wanted to get onboard.

Important partnership between municipalities and regions

During their work on their climate action plans, the 46 municipalities will draw on professional advice and consultancy from five newly established regional organisations – one in each region. Specialist staff from the municipal contact councils under Local Government Denmark, from the five Danish regions, and from relevant local operators will provide advice and consultancy for the new municipalities in DK2020 and facilitate their work to develop climate plans.

“DK2020 is an important climate partnership between municipalities and regions, which will boost the green transition in Denmark and reduce our climate footprint. In the regions, we’re ready to bring our knowledge and experience into play, so that all municipalities can develop ambitious, but realistic climate action plans. With Realdania and CONCITO as partners, we have a strong basis for translating the overall goal to local and regional action,” said Stephanie Lose, chair of Danish Regions.

Climate plans will identify specific initiatives

An important element in the municipalities’ climate action plans is that all significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions must be managed. These include transport, agriculture, energy, buildings, urban development and the municipality’s own vehicles and properties. In their climate action plan, each municipality is to identify specific climate initiatives that together will ensure net zero emissions by 2050 for the entire geographical area of the municipality.

In addition, before the plan is finally approved by the C40 international cities network, the climate action plan will have to contain specific suggestions on how the municipality will adapt to climate change.

“The consequences of climate change are already very clear for Danish municipalities and regions. And many of the specific challenges can be resolved locally and regionally. Therefore, Danish municipalities and regions have a key role in the climate struggle,” said Jesper Nygård, CEO of Realdania.

Next year, it is likely that more Danish municipalities will join the “Race to Zero”, getting one-step closer to realising the mission of recruiting 1,000 cities. A new call for applications to join DK2020 will open in 2021.

New cities and municipalities signing onto the Race to Zero include: 

  • Bath and North East Somerset Council, United Kingdom
  • Birmingham City Council, United Kingdom
  • Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, United Kingdom
  • Cambridgeshire County Council, United Kingdom
  • Cornwall Council, United Kingdom
  • Cotswold District Council, United Kingdom
  • Gloucestershire County Council, United Kingdom
  • Leeds City Council, United Kingdom
  • Leicester City Council, United Kingdom
  • Leicestershire County Council, United Kingdom
  • Liverpool City Council, United Kingdom
  • London Borough of Camden, United Kingdom
  • London Borough of Enfield, United Kingdom
  • Milton Keynes Council, United Kingdom
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne City Council, United Kingdom
  • Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council, United Kingdom
  • Oxford City Council, United Kingdom
  • Royal Borough of Greenwich, United Kingdom
  • Reading Borough Council, United Kingdom
  • Solihull Council, United Kingdom
  • South Gloucestershire Council, United Kingdom
  • West of England Combined Authority, United Kingdom
  • Wiltshire Council, United Kingdom
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • Ballerup, Denmark
  • Brøndby, Denmark
  • Esbjerg, Denmark
  • Favrskov, Denmark
  • Faxe, Denmark
  • Fredensborg, Denmark
  • Furesø, Denmark
  • Fåborg-Midtfyn, Denmark
  • Gentofte, Denmark
  • Gladsaxe, Denmark
  • Guldborgsund, Denmark
  • Haderslev, Denmark
  • Hedensted, Denmark
  • Herlev, Denmark
  • Herning, Denmark
  • Hjørring, Denmark
  • Holbæk, Denmark
  • Horsens, Denmark
  • Hvidovre, Denmark
  • Kerteminde, Denmark
  • Kolding, Denmark
  • Langeland, Denmark
  • Lyngby-Taarbæk, Denmark
  • Nordfyn, Denmark
  • Nyborg, Denmark
  • Odder, Denmark
  • Odense, Denmark
  • Odsherred, Denmark
  • Ringkøbing-Skjern, Denmark
  • Rudersdal, Denmark
  • Rødovre, Denmark
  • Skive, Denmark
  • Slagelse, Denmark
  • Sorø, Denmark
  • Struer, Denmark
  • Svendborg, Denmark
  • Syddjurs, Denmark
  • Tårnby, Denmark
  • Varde, Denmark
  • Vejen, Denmark
  • Vesthimmerland, Denmark
  • Viborg, Denmark
  • Vordingborg, Denmark
  • Ærø, Denmark
  • Aabenraa, Denmark
  • Aalborg, Denmark
  • Dalian, China
  • Brussels Capital Region, Belgium


Source: Realdania

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