Changing Planet

Mayors Voices: Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen

Sister City Agreement with Beijing & Award for European Green Capital Put Copenhagen at Top of Game in Urban Sustainability

Last week Mayor of Beijing, Mr. Guo Jinlong — a fellow C40 Mayor —  and I signed a mutual agreement between our two cities to collaborate in the areas of sustainable solutions, energy efficiency, water, culture, health and science. The agreement is not only a sign of the good relations between China and Denmark. It is also clear evidence of our shared interests in the area of sustainable urban development.

Though the Chinese and the Danish capital cities differ in size and the scope of their economies, we exemplify the spirit and potential of the C40 network. Our mutual efforts are not only about creating greener cities; they are also about making our cities healthier and nicer places to live, work and play. To achieve these goals, collaboration is key.

A good example of a possible field of collaboration between Beijing and Copenhagen is water. I am very proud of the quality of our water management in Copenhagen where water loss is now among the lowest in the world and the tap water is clean enough to drink. Beijing faces challenges within the areas of water preservation and supply and so I am happy that we can share our experiences.

Indeed, Copenhagen has accumulated rich experiences related to sustainable urban development, through our efforts to reduce energy consumption, preserving natural resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1995, Copenhagen has reduced its carbon emissions by more than 40 percent. Our district heating system delivers energy efficient, reliable and affordable heating to 98 percent of households, and the fact that more than half of Copenhagen residents bike on a daily basis, keeps our air clean and saves $43m every year due to avoided costs related to pollution, noise, accidents and congestion.

Copenhagen’s tradition of green thinking has turned the city into the ideal place for developing and testing innovative green solutions, with Danish cleantech companies being among the world’s most successful. Combined with the city’s ambition to become the first carbon-neutral capital in 2025, this makes Copenhagen the ideal place for developing ideas that can be applied in cities worldwide. I am happy, that this effort has recently been acknowledged by the EU Commission, who last week gave Copenhagen the prestigious European Green Capital Award for 2014.

Looking ahead, the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen in October will provide a strong platform for advancing collaboration between global mayors and cities through a dialogue that also includes key private sector and national partners. I am looking forward to furthering our collaboration with the City of Beijing at this event, where we will also convene the first meeting of the C40 Green Growth Network.

The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a network of large and engaged cities from around the world committed to implementing meaningful and sustainable climate-related actions locally that will help address climate change globally. Recognizing that cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70% of global CO2 emissions, our organization’s global field staff works with city governments, supported by our technical experts across a range of program areas to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency in large cities across the world. The current chair of the C40 is Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes, and 108th Mayor of New York City Michael R. Bloomberg is President of the Board. The Steering Committee includes: Berlin, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, Seoul and Tokyo.
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