Driving changes in cities: Municipal decarbonising in good company. And with a bit of money

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Abstract

This policy brief describes the four key “soft practices” that are conducive to the implementation of impactful initiatives in any municipality.

The four good practices bind together environmental and social action. They limit the risks faced by the various stakeholders in cities by promoting acceptance and supporting long-term engagement. This provides fertile ground for attracting investment, including by citizens themselves. This brief summarizes the results of the systematic analysis of initiatives implemented in eighteen Danish cities that are proactively engaged in their decarbonization plans. It concludes by presenting concrete examples of the practices in the municipalities studied.

Cities, where final energy consumption is closely linked to economic and social issues are expected to scale up their efforts in the decades to come in order to accelerate the sustainable energy transition. On the bright side, technological innovation has opened up new paths, and the Overton window for urban decarbonization has moved. Local decision-makers need to move with this window to avoid “mindset lock-in”. The most committed cities have established several soft measures that reflect their proactive attitudes towards addressing issues with the energy transition. These measures are the key to facilitating good practices that set the stage for boosting expertise and stakeholder engagement and limiting the risk to investors. They include the following measures:

1.Strive to improve collaboration
2.Engage in dialogue
3.Activate the regulatory change
4.Engage local communities through innovative funding

These four ready-to-use conditions are cross-cutting, low-cost catalysts to accelerate the sustainable transition. As countries become more and more committed to the fight against climate change, this policy brief is addressed to a growing number of cities beyond Denmark’s borders. Last but not least, these measures can be replicated in any municipality, regardless of its carbon footprint and the challenges it faces.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKgs. Lyngby
PublisherTechnical University of Denmark
Number of pages18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

This work was carried out as part of the FlexSUS project, which has received funding within the framework of the joint programming initiative, ERA-Net Smart Energy Systems, with support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and
innovation programme under grant agreement No. 775970.
This initiative has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements No. 646039 and No. 775970.

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