The ARC power plant which produces heat by burning off the city's waste, Source: Pixabay

Copenhagen will fail its 2025 carbon-neutrality goal

Copenhagen will fail its 2025 carbon-neutrality goal

The reason, though, has more to do with bureaucracy and finances than with lack of impetus and collective desire

At the start of this week, the Mayor of Copenhagen, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, announced that her city will not be able to meet its ambitious goal to become climate-neutral by 2025. The Danish capital had set this target to great aplomb back in 2009 with a vision of becoming a global pioneer and a role model.

It turns out that what stood in the way of realizing the vision has to do with some bureaucratic and financial obstacles that prevent the district heating and electrical company ARC (Amager Resource Centre) to install a carbon-capturing plant. The establishment of this plant would be essential to pushing the city on its last leg to achieving a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions.

However, the company has decided not to seek government funding. The reason is that the management has considered that it is unable to meet the equity standards set by the national authorities.

There’s still hope that it can be done before 2030, though

In an emotional Facebook post, the mayor of Copenhagen expressed her disappointment that the city was about to fail the hopes of the residents for the record-setting achievement in carbon neutrality status.

Does it upset me? Yes, it’s absolutely crazy! I can therefore promise you that we will not sit on our hands. We trudge on. Because Copenhagen MUST be at the forefront of the climate agenda. We must not only be climate neutral, we must be even more ambitious. It is my vision that Copenhagen contributes positively to the climate statement,” reads the mayor’s post. She went on to set a new ambition for the city – to become climate-positive by 2035.

Sophie Hæstorp Andersen also told DR Nyheder that the unfortunate circumstances that prevent the realization of the 2025 horizon do not mean that the target cannot be achieved by “2026, 2027 or 2028”. That means that Copenhagen is still on track to be a European and global leader in terms of climate neutrality.

In fact, the city has already managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by 80 percent. ARC has been working on capturing CO2 for a while now – it already has a demo plant up and running, which has demonstrated an ability to capture CO2 emissions from its chimneys. 

The inability of the company to meet the equity requirements has also led to a battle of words between the municipal and national authorities. Line Barfoed, the city’s mayor for technical issues, told DR Nyheder that it was the national government’s fault in setting up such financial requirements for access to funding, which they knew the ARC couldn’t meet.

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