Soon after he became the Mayor of Copenhagen, Morten Kabell sent back his official car and decided commute to office by electric bike, contributing towards taking the city to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025.
Kabell is one of the seven Mayors of Copenhagen, which has a population of around six lakh.
"There are seven Mayors each one with different areas of responsibilities that are clearly demarcated. The city council has eight parties," Kabell told a group of visiting international journalists.
According to him, the biggest challenge was asking the Danes to do away with their cars and switch over to public transport and cycles.
"I sold the official car and come to office on an e-bike," he added.
According to him, using a cycle is a faster way to commute and the city administration has reduced the number of car parking slots to discourage the use of cars to promote public transport and cycles.
"For distances of five-seven kilometres people here pedal their cycles. We would want that to up to 10 kms. People can also use e-bikes," Kabell said.
A sizeable number of Danes in Copenhagen commute to their work place on cycles.
The bicycle lanes are broad and the administration is planning to widen them to avoid traffic jams and also discourage the use of cars.
"Cars occupy space and also transport only one person at an average. You have to plan a city where cars can be used. There the people can buy cars and drive," he added.
"We are growing city. The city is growing by two per cent per annum. The challenge is building infrastructure, school and other facilities," Kabell said.
Speaking about achieving carbon neutrality by 2025 Kabell said as per the current plans, the city will achieve 92 per cent of the target by that time.
"Working out schemes to achieve the balance eight per cent will not be difficult," he said confidently.
Copehnagen aims to be the first city in the world to become carbon neutral by 2025.
"So far we have achieved 33 per cent of our target. Property owners have been asked to provide for district heating and cooling in their buildings," Kabell said.
The city is benchmarking its emissions against 2005 levels.
A biomass power plant is also being built and is expected to be operational in 2020 so that 80 per cent of the city's district heating system will be carbon neutral.
According to Kabell, source separation of waste at the household level is in place with the municipality giving containers to segregate the waste so that the organic waste could be used in the biomass plant.
The city's streetlights have been changed to energy efficient LED bulbs and the majority of the garbage trucks run on gas.
Kabell was categorical that it is the responsibility of rich nations to reduce pollution levels and it is not right on their part to ask other nations to do so.
"We recycle most of our waste. We have a district cooling system during summer. Our plans would make Copenhagen a sustainable city," Kabell added.
The indoor air quality has been improved with installation of valves to let in fresh air, he said when queried on the primary focus on reducing energy consumption by retaining heat/chillness within the four confines of the rooms with efficient sealing.
Though the water needs of the city met from ground water sources, the city does not have plans to harvest rain water to recharge aquifers.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan is in Denmark at the invitation of Danfoss A/S. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)