• Samsø and Sønderborg are the first Danish municipalities to launch Climate Action Plans as a part of the DK2020 project 
  • Samsø will reduce emissions by 70% in 2030 and reach net zero by 2050 
  • Sønderborg will reduce CO2 emissions from energy to become carbon neutral by 2029 

The two Danish municipalities, Samsø and Sønderborg, launched their ambitious Climate Action Plans using the same tools as C40 megacities such as Los Angeles, Durban, Paris, London and Barcelona. 

Both municipalities are a part of the Danish Deadline 2020 project DK2020 to launch ambitious Climate Action Plans in 20 Danish municipalities that are aligned with the Paris Agreement. The project is supported by the Danish green think tank, CONCITO, the climate leadership organisation C40, and funded by Realdania. Samsø and Sønderborg are the first Danish municipalities to finalise their Climate Action Plans. 

For more than 20 years the Island municipality Samsø has been working with a green transition of the local community and has been a vanguard in renewable energy. With the approval of its climate action plan Samsø has committed to reduce its emissions by 70% in 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Samsø’s emissions reduction efforts will amongst other focus on the two ferries owned by the municipality connecting the island to the mainland, responsible for 60% of its transport emissions. Samsø will switch from natural gas to locally produced biogas. 

Sønderborg municipality is a leader through their work in ProjectZero – a partnership between the municipality and local tech businesses focusing on reducing CO2 emissions from energy to reach net-zero by 2029.  

Sønderborg’s ambitious plan includes initiatives within energy supply, buildings, transport and freight, educational institutions, business and agriculture. Sønderborg will construct coastal wind turbines and achieve carbon neutral energy from a combination of wind power, biogas plants and solar cell parks. 

Marcel Meijer, Mayor of Samsø Municipality, said: “We are happy to be a part of Realdania’s DK2020 project because it means that we now have a new climate plan analysing the local challenges and not least the solutions we need to achieve a carbon-free island. Samsø has already shown – through many years of working with climate change – that it is vital to collaborate. We are ready for action and excited for the announcement of the Danish Government’s new climate policies and the leeway they will provide for Danish municipalities and local leaders to keep up the ambitious work. Local ownership will be key if we are to succeed in achieving the Danish goals of 70% reduction in CO2-emissions by 2030 – and we as municipalities have a critical role to play”

Erik Lauritzen, Mayor of Sønderborg Municipality, said: “Sønderborg’s ProjectZero has been focusing on climate since 2007 and it has taught us that the climate ambitions of the City Council are best solved in private-public partnerships together with residents and businesses. With the DK2020 Climate Action Plan we have tested the initiatives against the Paris Agreement and integrated both sustainability and adaptation. The DK2020 project builds on the experiences from C40 and thereby ensures a robust climate platform across borders and continents. Our ambition is continuously to be at the forefront and I am proud that Sønderborg’s plan is now compliant with the Paris Agreement and can be an inspiration to other cities climate actions”

Denmark is the first country where a group of municipalities work together developing their Climate Action Plans using C40’s tools and networks, putting the DK2020 municipalities at the forefront of cities and municipalities leading the way and tackling climate change. A key objective of the DK2020 project is to share the knowledge and experiences of the municipalities in the global C40 network, so other smaller cities and municipalities around the world can be encouraged to develop their own Climate Action Plans. 

Jesper Nygård, CEO of Realdania said: “Climate change is an important part of the local political agenda in Denmark and for years the municipalities have worked hard at pushing forward and advocating for a green transition and a reduction of emissions. Through the DK2020 project, a select group of municipalities have seized the opportunity to accelerate their local climate action. The project has received international recognition and I look forward to bringing the valuable knowledge and experiences further in the global work of C40.” 

Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities, said: “We congratulate Samsø and Sønderborg on the launch of their Climate Action Plans – their ambition is exactly what we need to see replicated by municipalities, cities, and nations everywhere. Failure to address the climate crisis is having devastating consequences worldwide, exacerbating existing inequalities and impacting already vulnerable communities the hardest. It has never been more urgent for every level of government to adapt to an already changing climate, and act immediately to at least halve emissions between now and 2030.”

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