Throughout Denmark, coastal cities, towns, and villages are consistently under threat of rising waters, which is being exacerbated by climate change and rising sea levels. While many municipalities focus their efforts entirely on climate change mitigation, a host of cities are taking the lead on more ambitious action.
Sønderborg, a quaint Danish town, exemplifies how small towns can have a major impact. In their climate action plan, dubbed Project Zero, leaders from business, government, and the community have banded together to make their city carbon-zero before 2030.
The coalition plans to accomplish this by adopting a diversity of approaches. A bold shift to wind, solar, and biogas transport represent a major component of the program. Businesses in the area are committed to decreasing their carbon footprint, and many have nearly slashed their carbon output by half.
Sønderborg is aggressively implementing a bold climate change strategy that benefits all sectors of the city. Businesses are on board, helping to increase efficiency in their operations, reducing their energy needs, and being in close proximity with determined climate conscious companies. The city’s investments in infrastructure has the added benefit of creating greater economic opportunities, less inequality, healthier residents, and an empowered community that can enjoy the benefits of a cleaner and healthier environment.
With 77,000 people, Sønderborg’s efforts are no small task. City officials and community leaders here in the US can learn valuable lessons by looking abroad. By pulling together community, government, and residents, climate action becomes a shared sacrifice, and a shared opportunity that all can benefit from. Learn more about engaging others and building a climate coalition by visiting Path to Positive Communities.
Almost completely surrounded by water, the little-known Danish town of Sønderborg is no stranger to flooding from both seawater rising along its coastline and heavy rainfall. With climate change ensuring more of both, Sønderborg is learning to tackle the immediate problems of adapting to a warming world while becoming part of the broader solution.
Its Project Zero plan, launched in 2007 as a joint venture between the people, politicians and businesses of Sønderborg, aims to enable the town of approximately 77,000 to become zero carbon by 2029.
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