10 Years of Results: Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen on 10 years of tackling climate change – side by side

Image by Flemming Leitorp

Editor’s Note: 2015 marks C40’s 10-year anniversary. To celebrate our 10 Years of Results, we are featuring the voices of C40 principals, partners and other thought leaders throughout the year. 

Today, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of C40. In 2005, C40 planted the seeds that would later grow into a strong collaborative network of cities all over the world, united in one important goal: finding smart solutions to reduce the impact of global warming.

It has been an interesting journey for Copenhagen. And I am proud to say that together we have accomplished a great deal.

Copenhagen – on our way to becoming the first carbon neutral capital in the world by 2025

Being part of C40 has been a crucial factor behind Copenhagen’s goal of reducing the impact of climate change and developing smart urban solutions. Thanks to C40, we have found the inspiration to be even more forward-thinking than we otherwise would have been.

In 2009 we adopted the ambitious “Copenhagen Climate Plan 2025”. Now, six years later, during the first implementation period, Copenhagen has already achieved important results; we have put up wind turbines, switched our streetlights to more energy efficient lightning, and expanded the city’s car fleet of electric and hydrogen cars. We have also invested in an expansion of our bike infrastructure, and have integrated green roofs and green areas in our urban planning.

We are happy to announce that, because of our efforts, we are ahead of schedule; our first milestone was to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent in 2015 compared to the 2005 level – by 2011 we had already reached that goal.

Image: Unsplash / Iván S. Pasarín

Together we hold the key to a sustainable future

Even though Copenhagen - and all the other C40 member cities – have accomplished a lot, we still have important work to do. Cities are responsible for about 75 per cent of all CO2 emissions; this puts them at the centre stage of finding a solution. But in order to really make a difference, we are dependent on each other.

Take Copenhagen’s solutions regarding green mobility for instance; for Copenhagen to become the first carbon-neutral capital in the world, the city will have to rely on sustainable transportation. However, the high price of these investments can be a challenge. This is why we have invited other Danish cities to join the procurement of electric and hydrogen cars in order to achieve advantages of large-scale purchases.  In 2014 we already counted 14 public partners; by cooperating on this matter we not only share solutions and experiences, but we also gain a huge economic advantage.

With initiatives such as the Compact of Mayors – the world’s largest coalition of city leaders addressing climate change – C40 creates just the platform that we need for cities to cooperate on solving the common challenge of climate change. Copenhagen is a member of the coalition, and we are happy to announce that we are among the first ten cities to be compliant with the Compact of Mayors.

The work continues

Today, cities all over the world still face complex challenges regarding climate change. I strongly believe that C40 will continue to play a decisive role in order for cities to succeed in ensuring a more sustainable future for all of us. I personally look very much forward to seeing the progress made by many other cities at COP21 in Paris in December.

So, to all of us - members, as well as citizens all over the world: congratulations on the anniversary and the 10 years of important work. And congratulations on the fact that we aren’t going to rest on our laurels, but will continue fighting this important battle together.