COP26: Mayors from all over the world are looking to be inspired by Danish municipalities’ climate actions

State of Green
By State of Green, November 10, 2021

“Feel free to copy us!” Those were the words from Realdania, Local Government Denmark (KL) and the Mayor of the Danish city Sønderborg, when they guested the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow last week. They presented the climate project called DK2020, which has engaged 95 out of 98 Danish municipalities in becoming carbon neutral before 2050.

While state leaders from all over the world were gathered in Glasgow to negotiate the countries’ contributions to keeping 1.5 alive, city leaders from all over the world showed up Tuesday, to share their climate ambitions at the C40 event. Here, the Danish climate project DK2020 was introduced.  

On-demand stream: Our Last, Big Chance: Why our future depends on action taken today in the world’s cities

The DK2020 programme was set up in 2019 to assist municipalities in preparing ambitious, local climate action plans that can lead the way to climate neutrality by no later than 2050. Two years in, no less than 95 Danish municipalities have joined the programme, making Denmark the first country in the world where virtually all municipalities are drawing up climate actions plans to meet the targets set in the Paris Agreement. 

“With DK2020 we have found a model for how smaller towns – like the Danish – can use climate tools from the biggest and most ambitious cities of the world and apply them locally. With DK2020, we can unite close to all Danish municipalities in a strong collaboration towards carbon neutrality before 2050 . This has never been seen before! The model – as well as the knowledge gained – is something we want to share with other cities. Everyone is welcome to copy us,” said Jesper Nygård, Administrating Director in Realdania 

94 Danish municipalities are now developing action plans to meet

Sønderborg has raised the already high level of ambition 

Sønderborg, a Danish municipality with 75,000 inhabitants, has already reduces its carbon emissions significantly, since onboarding the project. 

“We have reduced our total CO2 emissions with 52 per cent since 2007 and have engaged our citizens and companies in thinking more energy efficiently. We have implemented green district heating, solar parks and wind energy. We are cooperating with the local farming about converting their waste into biogas. Our public busses now run-on green fuels, and the children at our schools are thought “sustainability,” said Erik Lauritzen, Mayor of Sønderborg.  

On-demand stream: Our Last, Big Chance: Why our future depends on action taken today in the world’s cities

Partnerships are the way forward 

Partnerships across stakeholders have been the key to unlocking the success of the project. Laila Kildesgaard, the Director of KL, explains: 

“There lies a big strength in the fact that all political levels are engaged in the project. From virtually all mayors, the five Danish regions, KL and Realdania. And finally with professional guidance from CONCITO, a Danish climate think tank, and the C40 network. It is entirely unique,” said Laila Kildesgaard, when she spoke at the Town Hall in Glasgow.  

Climate partnerships are the theme of the Danish Pavilion at COP26

Canada is looking at DK2020 for inspiration 

One of the countries looking towards the Danish municipalities’ climate work and the DK2020 project, is Canada. The Trottier Family Foundation, which is the biggest philanthropic actor within the area of climate and cities in Canada, joined the stage in Glasgow to explain how  the DK2020 model could be exportet to Canada: 

“A couple of years ago, we offered the city of Montreal our support with developing a climate action plan that would live up to the Paris Climate Accords. It turned out to be a success and now more cities in Canada are reaching out to us. We are interested in expanding our collaboration with Montreal to three to five other cities in the country. For this, DK2020 could really serve as an inspiration,” said Eric St-Pierre, Executive Director of the Trottier Family Foundation.  

Nordic and UK pension funds commit USD 130 billion in climate investments by 2030

Photo Credit: Pernille Isaksen, Realdania
Danish article by Realdania:


Did you like this article?

State of Green
  • 1 Solutions
  • 1599 News
Primary contact
Magnus Højberg Mernild
Head of Press

Looking for our logo?

Find it in the State of Green Toolbox together with loads of materials to help you promote Denmark’s green solutions abroad.
Visit toolbox