The Danish capital is moving rapidly toward a zero-carbon future, as it
erects windfarms, transforms its citywide heating systems, promotes
energy efficiency, and lures more people out of their cars and onto
public transportation and bikes.
Among the first sights to greet visitors to Denmark
on the descent to Copenhagen's airport is a sweeping arc of wind
turbines rising from the harbor. From the airport, passengers can board
an automatic Metro line that hustles them to the city center in just 15
minutes, crossing the path of the City Circle Line, a subway project
that will place 85 percent of Copenhageners within 650 yards of a Metro
station when the line opens in 2018.
Everywhere, visitors are
greeted by streams of bicyclists; 36 percent of trips to work or school
in the Danish capital are made by bike, and more than 20,000 cyclists
enter the city center at peak hours, filling Copenhagen's 249 miles of
cycle tracks. Less visible are state-of-the-art facilities where waste
heat from power plants is used to keep buildings warm via the world's
largest district heating network, or where waters from the city harbor
are deployed to cool department stores, office buildings, hotels, and
These innovations are just a prelude to what is
planned in the coming years, all designed to make Copenhagen the world's
first carbon-neutral capital by 2025. Acting on a City Council plan
approved last August, Copenhagen intends to replace coal with biomass,
to add more wind and solar electricity to the grid, to upgrade energy-guzzling buildings, and to lure even more residents onto bikes and public transit.