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Realdania, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions call on the Danish municipalities to boost the struggle to save the climate

17. September 2020

In a new climate partnership between Realdania, Local Government Denmark and the five Danish regions, municipalities all across Denmark have been invited to join part of the DK2020 climate project. The aim is to develop ambitious local climate action plans that are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals and thereby make history in the struggle to save the climate.

Climate is right at the top of the political agenda for municipalities and regions. For many years, municipalities have targeted strong efforts to promote the green transition and to reduce their carbon footprint, and the regions have agreed on ambitious climate and sustainability goals. 

A considerable shared investment of DKK 45 million from Realdania, Local Government Denmark and the five Danish regions will now accelerate this work and give all municipalities across Denmark an opportunity to develop comparable climate action plans with a level of ambition in line with the Paris Agreement. The tools of these climate action plans were developed by the ambitious international C40 cities network.

Under the heading DK2020, 20 pilot municipalities are already preparing ambitious, local plans, leading the way towards zero emissions for each municipality as a geographical area by 2050. In the pilot project, the international C40 standards have been adapted to a Danish context, and the other municipalities have now been now invited to join the common initiative ‘DK2020 - climate action plans for all of Denmark’ (’DK2020 – klimaplaner for hele Danmark’) 

Local Government Denmark: Climate policy is local policy

Although most municipalities have targets for CO₂ reductions as well as ambitious plans for how to get there, only very few municipalities have developed climate action plans in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The new partnership will help change this.

“Our ambition to achieve a carbon-neutral society will have a great impact on our lives and on how we organise society. Everyone has a role to play, and since they’re close to both citizens and businesses, the municipalities can drive developments forward and encourage collaboration between the parties involved. This is why climate policy is also local policy, and with DK2020, we’re really boosting the development of ambitious municipal climate action plans that live up to the Paris Agreement and can set the course for all of Denmark,” said Jacob Bundsgaard, Chairman of Local Government Denmark. 

Danish Regions: Together, we can make a difference at local and regional levels

The five municipal contact councils (Kommunekontaktråd, KKR) under Local Government Denmark and the Danish regions will jointly organise the tasks of providing advice to the new municipalities in ‘DK2020 - climate action plans for all of Denmark’ and facilitating these municipalities’ work on developing climate action plans. 

“In order to achieve the ambitious climate target, we need to work closely together and learn from each other. The regions are part of DK2020, because we can contribute unique knowledge, and because, over the past 12 years, we’ve worked closely with the municipalities to solve regional and local challenges. In the regions, we believe that jointly, and by drawing on each other’s strengths, we can make a difference, both locally and regionally. In this way, we can help to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and the climate targets of the Danish Parliament,” said Stephanie Lose, Chairman of Danish Regions.

Realdania: Municipal knowledge of value to C40

This is the first time the standard for climate action planning of the international C40 cities network is being applied on such a large scale, and Danish municipalities are making history in the struggle to save the climate. 

In Realdania, CEO Jesper Nygård is looking forward to following work by the Danish municipalities and passing on the valuable knowledge generated by them to the global C40 network.

“I’m extremely pleased to be unveiling our new partnership with Local Government Denmark and the Danish regions, because this provides a unique opportunity to position Danish cities, municipalities and regions - who are already making a massive contribution to the green transition - at the forefront of the fight for the climate. This is the first time in history that all municipalities have the opportunity to develop climate action plans aligned with the goal of the Paris Agreement, and there’s no doubt that this will make a significant and positive impact on work to reduce carbon emissions and emissions of other greenhouse gases. It’s fantastic that our partnership in C40 can be utilised in this way in a Danish context,” said Jesper Nygård.   

Support from the Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities

The Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities strongly supports the new partnership and the future work in DK2020:

“I only have praise for this initiative. Achieving the 70 per cent target depends crucially on local anchorage in regions and municipalities - not least in order to build popular support. So it’s highly positive that the DK2020 initiative is now being rolled out to all municipalities and regions, which can then draw up ambitious local climate action plans that fit in at national level. For example, there’s a huge potential in energy renovation of municipal and regional buildings and in getting rid of the last oil-fired and gas-fired boilers. This can help to create new green jobs and a good indoor climate and to achieve carbon reductions to benefit both the climate and the economy. My ministry is ready to join this exciting climate partnership,” said Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities.

Read more about C40 The international partnership between the world's leading cities C40 aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

    From 17 September until 21 October 2020, all Danish municipalities can apply to join ‘DK2020 - climate action plans for all of Denmark’ In 2021, there will be a new call for applications.  

    Realdania, Local Government Denmark and Danish Regions have each contributed DKK 15 million to ‘DK2020 - climate action plans for all of Denmark’, and this makes it possible to invite all Danish municipalities to join the project in two rounds.

    The tasks of providing advice to municipalities joining DK2020, and of facilitating their work on developing climate action plans, are being organised in collaboration between the five regions and the municipal contact councils (Kommunekontaktråd, KKR) under Local Government Denmark. The green think tank CONCITO is the overall project manager, secretariat and knowledge partner for the project.

    The municipal contact councils (KKR) are a collaboration between the municipal councils in each of the five Danish regions and safeguard the interests of the municipalities

    In 2019, Realdania set up the DK2020 project, through which 20 Danish municipalities have been engaged in a programme that supports the municipalities in developing, upgrading or adjusting their existing work on climate action to global best practice, and ultimately developing climate action plans in line with the 1.5 degree goal in the Paris Agreement.

    The municipal climate action plans will include instructions on how the municipalities can become climate-neutral by no later than 2050 and set ambitious sub-goals for greenhouse-gas reductions. Throughout the process, the 20 municipalities have received technical support and advice from Danish and international experts from C40 and the CONCITO green think-tank, so that the plans live up to the C40 standard for climate action planning.

    The first 20 municipalities in DK2020 are Albertslund, Allerød, Assens, Fredericia, Frederiksberg, Frederikshavn, Helsingør, Høje-Taastrup, Jammerbugt, Køge, Lejre, Lemvig, Lolland, Middelfart, Randers, Roskilde, Samsø, Sønderborg, Vejle and Aarhus.

    The background for DK2020 is the Deadline 2020 report, published by the international C40 cities network and the consultancy firm Arup in 2016 following the Paris Agreement. The report sets a global standard for how cities and municipalities can contribute to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement. It also points out that up to 40% of the goals in the Paris Agreement can be reached by implementing the right climate measures in the world’s cities and municipalities. 

    After having published the Deadline2020 report, C40 has set up a global resource centre to help the network’s 94 member cities prepare climate action plans to meet the most ambitious 1.5°C objective in the Paris Agreement. This global and ambitious approach is now to be realised by Danish municipalities through DK2020.

For further information, please contact:

Jacob Bundsgaard
Chairman of Local Government Denmark
Via the press office at Local Government Denmark: 
+45 3370 3333

Stephanie Lose
Chairman of Danish Regions and Chairman of the Regional Council, Region of Southern Denmark
+45 2533 0982

Jesper Nygård
CEO of Realdania
Via press consultant Pernille Isaksen
+45 2677 4086

Dan Jørgensen
Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities
Via the press office of the Ministry for Climate, Energy and Utilities:
+45 4172 3805

Sophie Hæstorp Andersen

Chairman of the Regional Council, Capital Region of Denmark
Via the on-duty press officer of the Capital Region of Denmark
+45 7020 9588

Heino Knudsen
Chairman of the Regional Council, Region Zealand
+45 5114 5496

Anders Kühnau
Chairman of the Regional Council, Central Denmark Region
+45 2360 2768

Ulla Astman
Chairman of the Regional Council, North Denmark Region
+45 3023 6454