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Restructuring Directions?

COPENHAGEN / The cities are choosing to take a leading role in the fight for climate.


By C40 Mayors Summit 2019 in Copenhagen last month, it was called keynote speakers such as Al Gore, Michael Bloomberg and Vandana Shiva. Greta Thunberg was not physically present, but it was a group of young activists from all over the world working on the same basis. 94 major cities in the C40 network want to reduce CO2-udledninger.

The UN's 17 World Goals (September 2015) provided a common framework for understanding the challenges facing humanity. Nevertheless, the trend continues in the wrong direction and brings the world closer to various "tipping points" day by day.

Biodiversity is threatened by, among other things, an alarming rate in species extinction, of agricultural soils being ejected for microorganisms and humus, and of the climate ambitions that are not high enough at all to keep the temperature rise below 1,5.

Systemic criticism must be developed from the local to the global.

And there are other challenges on the global agenda. For example, there is a reorganization in the balance of power between great powers, refugee flows that will reach new heights as a result of wars and climate, as well as tensions of populism and right-wing nationalism. Furthermore, the next financial crisis lurks on the horizon. All while increasing inequality.

Where nations thus refrain from dealing with science's statements about climate, then cities choose to assume a leading role in the fight for climate. And that makes good sense. For 70 percent of the world's population, by 2050, they will live in cities – which account for the vast majority of total CO2discharge.

The C40 conference was held in high gear, with many promises and troubled mines in a special mix. There were no indications of coherent strategic actions. Thus, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen could report on the Danish government's stated intention to implement a 70 percent reduction in CO2emissions by 2030 and at the same time assure the audience that the green transition is not her top priority. "I am a Social Democrat – before I am green," said the Prime Minister.

Just as the nations as a whole are without change instructions, so too did the positive C40 mayors leave the pioneering city of Copenhagen without any concrete plans. As long as courage and politics are lacking, economic considerations will dominate…

In the coming years, the people themselves will experience the consequences of a policy and a lifestyle that really took off after the Second World War and especially in the last 40 years. Something has to happen. Therefore, the urban transformation will continue to be dependent on the locals' own transformation initiatives – as a source of inspiration. In the light of a growing recognition of our vulnerability, a new focus on our resilience must be developed. System criticism must be developed from the local to the global.



Niels Johan Juhl-Nielsen
Niels Johan Juhl-Nielsen
Juhl-Nielsen resides in Copenhagen.

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