NEWS Latest DACC news
Copenhagen announces ambitious climate plan
By 2025 Copenhagen hopes to become one of the world’s first fully carbon neutral cities, according to the ambitious plan released yesterday by the City Council.
It is a holistic vision for the city that reduces CO2 emissions by transitioning energy production away from coal and toward biomass, wind and solar energy, while also reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency in transport, housing, heating and industry.
The plan will cost the city about 2.7 billion kroner before 2025, though additional private investments of between 20 and 25 billion will be needed from the private sector in order for targets to be met.
The plan mirrors the climate plan set out by the Danish government this winter to vastly reduce the country’s carbon footprint and end its reliance on fossil fuels for energy production by 2035.
Like the national government, the City Council believes the investments will be an opportunity to create economic growth.
“The investments will ensure jobs now, and the new solutions will provide the foundation for a strong green sector,” Mayor Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne) wrote in a press release announcing the plan’s publication.
The city's deputy mayor for technical and environmental affairs, Ayfer Baykal (Socialistiske Folkeparti), added that the city would need the co-operation of both its residents and businesses for the plan’s targets to be met.
According to a questionaire by the council, 55 percent of respondents said that sorting trash was the most important act that residents could do to contribute to Copenhagen's climate goals.
And a majority of the 20 households participating in a trial with new rubbish sorting bins were positive about the system that increased the amount of plastic being recycled and in so doing reduced the CO2 emissions caused by the burning of plastics in incinerators.
“We must choose our bikes instead of our cars, sort and recycle more of our waste, and invest in energy retrofitting of our houses and flats,” Baykal wrote in the press release. “The reward will appear in the form of a series of environmental benefits like clean air, less noise and greater quality of life."
The city’s latest plan, entitled KBH 2025, builds on a 2009 climate plan in which the city set out to reduce its CO2 emissions to 20 percent of 2005 levels by 2015, and to become CO2 neutral by 2025.
The first target was already met last year, four years ahead of schedule, despite the fact that the city’s population grew by ten percent over the same period.
The city still released about 1.9 million tonnes of CO2 in 2011, a figure that would drop to 1.16 tons a year in 2025 if no new initiatives were introduced.
But the city wants to reduce the figure even further through initiatives such as burning biomass and rubbish at district heat and power stations instead of coal, installing 100 wind turbines around the city as well as solar panels on all council buildings, while also expanding the fledgling geothermal facility on Amager.
Some 75 percent of the planned reduction in emissions will be a result of this transition to low-carbon energy that is, in no small part, helped by the government’s own energy plan for the country as a whole, which will see the energy grid flooded with renewable energy over the next decades.
The council’s plan does acknowledge, however, that burning biomass for heat and electricity is far more expensive than burning coal and thus emphasises the need to reduce energy consumption in order to offset rising bills.
In all, about 1.4 billion kroner will be spent on energy renovations in the city, including the replacement of street lights with low-energy LED lighting, while the council is hoping for about 3.6 billion kroner of private investment to retrofit existing buildings and increase their energy efficiency.
The hope is that the reduction in heat and energy consumption in buildings and businesses will surpass the increase in price from more expensive per-unit renewable energy, resulting in annual savings of 4,000 kroner for an average family in 2025.
Copenhageners are famed for their bicycle culture but the city wants even more of its residents to get on their bikes, whatever the weather, with planned investments of about 600 million to improve cycling infrastructure.
The failure by the government to introduce a campaign-promised congestion charge for Copenhagen this year may have been a blow for city planners who also want to get more of the city’s commuters onto public transport.
The city still plans on moving toward a carbon neutral transport network by switching from petrol and diesel to electricity and biofuel in public transport and council vehicles.
Petrol and diesel will likely still be powering Copenhagen’s cars in 2025, however, meaning that one large source of CO2 emissions will remain despite the city’s best efforts.
The city claims, however, that they will be able to offset these emissions and become carbon neutral by becoming a net exporter of renewable energy.
But according to Greenpeace Denmark's energy and climate spokesperson, Tarjei Haaland, this is a misleading statement.
"They want to offset their carbon emissions by building windmills outside of the city limits that will offset carbon based energy production elsewhere," Haaland explained. "But the fact is they can't become carbon neutral because they will still be releasing carbon because of their transport sector. So there's not much point in talking about becoming CO2 neutral."
Haaland also pointed out that much of the city's carbon reduction is dependent on energy companies fulfilling their goals of moving toward burning biomass at power plants as well on the government implementing their carbon reduction policies.
Regardless, Haaland commended the city's plan and especially the way it appealed to Copenhageners to do their bit to reduce energy consumption.
"I think it's a very exciting plan that means Copenhagen has put itself right at the forefront in the campaign for renewable energy," Haaland said. "It’s important that the plan is widely supported and it sets a good example to other councils. We need Copenhageners to play their part because we need to turn reducing our energy consumption into a common project in Denmark."
Work doesn’t pay for 151,000 Danes
According to new figures from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Interior, work simply doesn’t pay for around 151,000 unemployed Danes who would gain no more than an estimated DKK 2,000 a month if they took a job. Of those, 58,000 get DKK 1,000 less a month if they are on public benefits rather than having a job.
The explanation for the poor financial incentive to work is that unemployment benefit for low earners is relatively high.
The financial study by the ministry also shows that when the entitlement to unemployment benefit expires, usually after two years, the desire to find a job significantly increases.
For the vast majority of people, it does pay to work. In fact, the financial gain from working rather than being on public benefits is DKK 9,600 a month on average.
DA veto on working hours
Following months of silence, Denmark’s employers are now joining the battle over increased working hours. They will make a clear demand that working hours should only be increased by taking away ordinary holiday allowance or public holidays from employees, writes Politiken.
As a precondition for concluding a three-party agreement, Jørn Neergaard Larsen, president of the Confederation of Danish Employers (DA), is insisting that any initiatives relating to increased working hours should be voted through in the Danish Parliament.
To all intents and purposes, this only leaves the option of ordinary holiday allowance and public holidays. All other initiatives – such as moving more employees from part-time to full-time or extending the 37-hour working week – are excluded because they have to be changed through collective bargaining.
“If anything is agreed on working hours, it should be brought into effect solely by the Danish Parliament. That is crucial. It would be completely nonsensical to transfer a manoeuvre from the three-party negotiations to the collective agreements. We will not be party to that,” said Jørn Neergaard Larsen, who also wants the increased working hours to enter into force now.
The increase in working hours appears to be the major sticking point. Many factions in the trade unions are vehemently opposed to implementing an increase by taking away ordinary holiday allowance or public holidays.
However, Flemming Ibsen, a labour market researcher at Aalborg University, believes that today’s tough announcement suggests that the employers will ultimately get their way.
“This signal significantly narrows the scope for increasing working hours. It’s very simple: only the holidays act and public holidays are left. The employers have effectively vetoed all other options. And if the other party does not concur, there will be no three-party agreement,” Flemming Ibsen told Politiken.
Danes with two passports detained abroad
There is not a lot of help for Danes with dual nationality who are detained in their other country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives many appeals from people who are unable to return to Denmark.
On their way back to Denmark after visiting their families, many people with dual nationality find that they are not allowed to travel.
“It may be, for example, that they have not completed their military service in their original home country,” says the Head of Consular Services at the Foreign Ministry, Ole Mikkelsen.
As the person being detained is also a citizen of the other country, there is little that the Danish authorities can do.
“Under international law, these countries are not obliged to provide what is known as consular access, in other words to allow our embassy or consulate to see them,” Mikkelsen explains.
The Ministry’s best advice is therefore to think carefully before booking the trip.
“We urge travelers to consider before setting off whether events in the past may prevent them from returning,” says Ole Mikkelsen.
Bankrupt Cimber Sterling bought
Three former senior executives of Cimber Sterling have bought the bankrupt company and started a new airline – Cimber A/S, according to check-in.dk.
The three concerned are Jørgen Nielsen, son of the original founder of Cimber Air, Alex Dyrgaard and Jacob Krogsgaard who was director of the company when it filed for bankruptcy.
According to the official receiver the new Cimber company will continue flying for, among others, SAS. A total of 114 jobs have been saved.
“SAS has entered into a robust and good agreement which is a major benefit to our customers. Until the bankruptcy, Cimber Sterling provided good quality and we are happy to be able to maintain that quality with the good Cimber staff who will continue to fly for SAS,” says SAS Chief Operating Officer Flemming Jensen.
The other part of the bankrupt CImber Sterling estate, involving aircraft maintenance and air data, is reported to have been sold to a company known as Mansvell.
In all, a total of 200 to 260 jobs have been saved.
“It has been a major jig-saw puzzle which was only able to be finished because of the backing and flexibility shown by all Cimber Sterling’s employees. Despite the goodwill shown from all, it has not been possible to save all jobs. That is unfortunate and on Wednesday all employees will receive letters with information regarding their positions,” the receiver writes in a news release quoted by check-in.dk.
A further 50 employees have transferred to the Jettime airline following that company’s purchase of two Boeing aircraft from the bankrupt Cimber Sterling.
Page 14 of 38