The Copenhagen declaration for a low carbon city

Copenhagen Declaration for a Low Carbon City Development Index
For the first time in human history more than half of the
world’s population now lives in cities. This has amongst other
things created a strong demand for sustainable urban
development across the globe. It has become evident that this
need can not be met through traditional development as there
is growing evidence of the adverse effects caused by the
emission of greenhouse gases and intensive use of natural
recourses to provide a high quality of life.
Therefore the cities of tomorrow must be fundamentally
different than the cities of today in order to ensure
sustainability. In this transition it is important to focus on
service needed, not the ways they have been provided
previously. For example, instead of only improving cars and
roads the service of mobility and transportation should be in
focus encourage smart solutions and IT-solutions that reduce
the need of energy consuming trips and thereby also buildings.
This service perspective is especially important when we look
at cities in regions like China and India where more than half
of the world’s building will be build over the coming years and
where more than 10 million people are moving into cities
every year in China alone.
In order to ensure that economic development, a low carbon
economy and a resource efficient development go hand in
hand we should approach this transition as an opportunity.
A global approach to cities
As all cities are integrated parts of national, regional and
global economies it is important not to view the transition to a
low carbon city in isolation. Cities should be seen as living
entities that through import and export interact with the rest
of the world. No city can be seen as sustainable without
considering the consequences of the import and export. With
the need for low carbon solutions cities that provide these
solutions are particularly important and sustainable import
should be encouraged where possible.
A low carbon city development index
“What you can’t measure you can’t manage” is an old truth
that also applies to cities. A low carbon index for cities would
make it possible to measure the progress towards a low
carbon society and support three important aspects of low
carbon development
• Development of a low carbon city development
policies, capturing the global impacts of the city
• Dialogue and exchange of best practice between cities
around the world
• Comparison of various cities development paths and
how far they are in the transformation from a carbon
intensive city to a low carbon city
In order to achieve this, a commonly accepted global index
that in a meaningful way can measure a city’s progress
towards a low carbon future is needed. Several indices
attempt to do this at the national level but no index exists at
the global level, and none of the existing indices so far include
import and export as relevant factors. The new “low carbon
city development index” will address this gap through the
development of a global index for low carbon cities and by
identifying policy measures that efficiently foster and facilitate
the above mentioned transition. The index will be based on
the concept of a carbon budget, accounting for equity a the
ecological limits for the global CO2 emissions in order to avoid
dangerous climate change, and will be divided into three
different parts covering the effects from direct measures as
well as measures related to export and import:
Indicators assessing the direct carbon emissions in
the city
To which degree does the city directly contribute to
increased or decreased carbon emissions and impact
the environment?
Indicators assessing the carbon footprint from export
To which degree do products and services
originating from the city result in increased or
decreased carbon emissions and impact the
environment impacts at place of consumption?
Indicators assessing the carbon footprint from
To which degree do the city sources, materials and
services contribute to increased or decreased carbon
emissions and impact the environment at place of
We, the undersigned, support the development of a low carbon city development index and will pay extra attention to the needs
in emerging countries such as China and India. We will encourage all relevant stakeholders to support this effort.
Mr. Pan Jiahua
Executive director, research Centre for Sustainable Development
Chinese Aacademy of Social Sciences
Mr. Ma Xuelu
Christine Loh
Founder and CEO, Civic-Exchange, HongKong, China
Jorgen Lund Madsen
Development Manager, Technical and Environmental Committee,
Copenhagen City, Denmark
Rajendra Kumar
Senior District Collector, Tiruvallur District, India
Tom Carnac
Programme Manager, Public Sector, Carbon Disclosure Project, UK
Peter Rathje
Managing Director, Project Zero, Denmark
John Kornerup Bang
Head of Globalisation Programme, WWF Denmark
Dennis Pamlin
Global Policy Advisor, WWF Sweden
Kaarin Taipale
Urban researcher and Chair, Marrakech Task Force for Sustainable
Buildings and Construction, Helsinki School of Economics, Finland
Dr. Haixiao Pan
Director, Landuse /transport
Tongji University, shanghai, China