Copenhagen in Denmark has taken the title from Nantes in France to be named Europe’s green capital for 2014, launching a year of low carbon initiatives as it works towards being the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025.
The European Green Capital Award was launched in 2010 as a way to promote and award cities that are leading the way with their environmental efforts, in order to inspire others and share best practices.
Copenhagen’s Lord Mayor Frank Jensen accepted the 2014 award at a ceremony in Brussels last year. Today, in a blog for C40 Cities on National Geographic, he said: “As European Green Capital, we want to share our ideas, experiences and solutions with the world. The goal is that Copenhagen will become a green growth laboratory, where companies from all over the world can develop, try out and showcase innovative sustainable solutions. Copenhagen is a world leader in green growth, and we work closely with all cities interested in exchanging and sharing knowledge.”
The EU recognized Copenhagen’s bold green efforts, in particular its goal to become the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2025, improve access to green spaces and increase the number of cyclists in the city to 50%.
Janez Potočnik, EU Climate Commissioner said in a statement: “I congratulate Copenhagen on winning the title of European green capital 2014. Europe has much to learn from Copenhagen’s efforts to improve environmental sustainability, and from the quality of life its citizens enjoy. This award recognizes Copenhagen as a city that is making substantial efforts to improve the urban environment, and to provide a healthier and more sustainable way of living.”
The award marks the beginning of a busy year for Copenhagen, as the city is partnering with 75 organizations and businesses to host a packed agenda of green events. See the full program of events here.
In its journey to become carbon neutral by 2025, an estimated 75% of Copenghagen’s planned CO2 reductions will come from initiatives around the city’s energy system, mainly from increasing the share of renewable energy in the City’s district heating.
Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister for Climate Energy and Buildings, commented: “Congratulations on the fantastic recognition, Copenhagen. It’s vital that there are cities, businesses and individuals who have the will to lead the fight against climate change. Copenhagen sets a great example for other cities as they increasingly look for green initiatives. Copenhagen is a green city in a green country.”
The title of ‘green capital’ was previously given to Nantes in France, Vitoria-Gasteiz in Spain, Hamburg in Germany and Stockholm in Sweden. Next year’s winner has already be chosen as Bristol in the UK, and the winning applicant for 2016 will be announced in June 2014.