A Scan of Critical World Developments
Copenhagen: Leading the Way to Carbon Neutrality
As meaningful action to control climate change continues to elude intergovernmental negotiations, concerned citizens and policymakers have turned increasingly to local action to abate greenhouse gas emissions. Cities have become the loci of efforts to promote renewable energy, expand mass transport and encourage bicycling, employ district heating, and improve building and street-lighting efficiency. In an exemplary development, Copenhagen recently adopted a comprehensive plan to make it the first major carbon-neutral city by 2025. The city made a priority of collaborating with a diverse group of citizens, NGOs, and knowledge institutions in designing the plan. Among other innovative features, the plan includes a district-cooling plant that delivers naturally chilled seawater to buildings. The city projects that the Copenhagen Carbon Neutral by 2025 program, though requiring substantial investment, will result in net gains in prosperity and jobs, along with its environmental benefits. Although quite ambitious, this well-planned effort has the wide popular support needed to become an important milestone in establishing momentum for an alternative narrative to the conventional development paradigm.