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Danish municipalities launch ambitious climate action plans

Samsø and Sønderborg have launched their strategies as part of the Danish Deadline 2020 project, DK2020, which is aligned with the Paris Agreement.

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Sønderborg is reducing CO2 emissions from energy to be carbon neutral by 2029
Sønderborg is reducing CO2 emissions from energy to be carbon neutral by 2029

Samsø and Sønderborg have become the first Danish municipalities to launch climate action plans as part of the Danish Deadline 2020 project, DK2020.

 

DK2020 aims to launch ambitious climate action plans in 20 Danish municipalities that are aligned with the Paris Agreement. Samsø is aiming to reduce emissions by 70 per cent in 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. Sønderborg is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions from energy to become carbon neutral by 2029.

 

Accelerating action

 

The project is supported by the Danish green think tank, Concito, the climate leadership organisation C40, and funded by the Danish philanthropic organisation, Realdania.

 

The two Danish municipalities, Samsø and Sønderborg, launched their climate action plans using the same tools as C40 megacities like Los Angeles, Durban, Paris, London and Barcelona.

 

Jesper Nygård, CEO of Realdania, said through the DK2020 project a select group of municipalities have seized the opportunity to accelerate their local climate action. He added: “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.”

 

For more than 20 years the island municipality Samsø has been working towards 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 per cent in 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.

 

Samsø’s emissions reduction efforts will, among others, focus on the two ferries owned by the municipality connecting the island to the mainland, responsible for 60 per cent of its transport emissions. Samsø will switch from natural gas to locally produced biogas.

“Samsø has already shown – through many years of working with climate change – that it is vital to collaborate”

“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,” said Marcel Meijer, mayor of Samsø Municipality. “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 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 – and we as municipalities have a critical role to play.”

 

Sønderborg municipality is a leader through its 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. It will construct coastal wind turbines and achieve carbon neutral energy from a combination of wind power, biogas plants and solar cell parks.

“It has taught us that the climate ambitions of the city council are best solved in private-public partnerships together with residents and businesses”

“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,” said Erik Lauritzen, mayor of Sønderborg Municipality. “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.”

 

Sharing knowledge

 

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.

 

Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities, congratulated the two municipalities and commented that their ambition is exactly what is needed to be replicated by municipalities, cities, and nations everywhere. He added: “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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