New Danish climate project shows the way for local commitment to the green transition

State of Green
By State of Green, October 21, 2020

20 Danish pilot municipalities are in the process of preparing local, ambitious plans that show the way to carbon neutrality by 2050. With a new partnership, all Danish municipalities are now invited to join in, as collective municipal commitment is vital to reach the national climate efforts.

In a completely new climate partnership between the philanthropic association Realdania, the association of Danish municipalities KL and the five regions in Denmark, all of the country’s municipalities are invited to become part of the climate project DK2020. Here they must develop local climate plans with a level of ambition that lives up to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Climate is an important part of the regional and municipal policy agenda in Denmark. For years, the municipalities have worked purposefully to promote the green transition and reduce their CO2 footprint, and the regions have adopted ambitious goals for climate and sustainability.

-Related news: Danish municipalities unite to improve climate and energy reporting

With a joint contribution of EUR 6 million from Realdania, KL and Denmark’s five regions, the “DK2020” project (coordinated by the green Danish think tank CONCITO) has boosted that work and allowed all of the country’s municipalities to develop comparable climate plans with a level of ambition that lives up to the Paris Agreement. The method for these climate plans has been developed by the ambitious international, urban network C40.

20 pilot municipalities are already – under the heading DK2020 – in the process of preparing local, ambitious plans that show the way to net zero emissions for the municipality as a geographical area by 2050. In the pilot projects, the international standards from C40 have been adapted to the Danish context and now other municipalities are invited to take part in the new joint effort ‘DK2020 – climate plans for all of Denmark’.

Climate policy is local policy

Although the vast majority of Danish municipalities have goals for CO2 reductions and ambitious plans for realising the reductions, only few municipalities’ current climate plans are in line with the Paris Agreement. The new partnership must help to change that.

“The ambition to achieve a CO2 neutral society will have a great impact on how we live and organise our society. Everyone must play a role, and the municipalities are close to both citizens and companies and can thus drive development and cooperation between the parties. That is why climate policy is also local policy, and with DK2020 we are seriously boosting the development of ambitious municipal climate plans that live up to the Paris Agreement and can set the direction for the whole of Denmark,” said Jacob Bundsgaard, chairman of KL.

Together we can make a difference locally and regionally

 It will be KL’s five Municipal Contact Councils and the regions that work together to organise the task of advising the new municipalities in ‘DK2020 – climate plans for the whole of Denmark’ and facilitate their work to develop climate plans.

“To achieve this, we must work closely together and learn from each other. The regions are part of DK2020, because we can contribute with unique knowledge, and because for the last 12 years, we have worked closely with the municipalities to solve regional and local challenges. In the regions, we believe that together and using each other’s strengths; we can make a difference locally and regionally. In this way, we can contribute to achieving the Paris Agreement and the Danish parliament’s objectives in the climate area,” said Stephanie Lose, President of Danish Regions, the interest organisation for the five regions in Denmark.

The municipalities’ knowledge is valuable for C40

With DK2020 it is the first time that the C40’s standard for climate planning is used on this scale, and thus the Danish municipalities are helping to “write world history” in the fight against climate change.

At Realdania, CEO Jesper Nygård looks forward to following the municipalities’ work and bringing all the valuable knowledge that the Danish municipalities generate further into the global volume in C40.

“I am incredibly happy to be able to unveil our new partnership with KL and the regions. It provides a unique opportunity to put the Danish cities, municipalities and regions, which already make a huge contribution to the green transition, completely in front of the fight for the climate. It is nothing short of a piece of world history that all municipalities now have the opportunity to develop climate plans that live up to the goal of the Paris Agreement, and it will undoubtedly make a significant and positive impact on the work of reducing CO2 and other emissions. It is fantastic that our partnership with C40 can be utilised in this way in a Danish context,” said Jesper Nygård.

-Related news: Sustainable building practices are becoming entrenched in Danish municipalities

Support from the Minister

Also from the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, there is tremendous support for the new partnership and the upcoming work in DK2020:

“Great praise must be heard from here. It is crucial for the 70 per cent target that it is anchored locally in regions and municipalities – not least to strengthen popular support. Therefore, it is positive that the DK2020 initiative is now rolled out to all municipalities and regions, where ambitious climate plans can be organized that play locally together with the national level. For example, there is great potential in energy renovation of municipal and regional buildings and in getting rid of the last oil and gas boilers, which can both help create green jobs, a good indoor climate and CO2 reductions – for the benefit of both the climate and the economy. My ministry is ready to take part in this exciting collaboration in the climate area,” said Minister of Climate, Energy and Utilities, Dan Jørgensen.

More information about DK2020 (in Danish)

Source: Realdania (in Danish)

Photo: Realdania

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