Current local climate policies
Branding and benchmarking programs of local authorities in profiles of energy effectiveness, CO2 cuts, and climate adaptation have been manifold:
Contracts with a energy consultancy institution (Elsparerådet) on a so-called curve breaking deal ( kurveknækkeraftalen)
Campaign programs as ‘energy municipalities of the year’ (Ministry of Climate and energy),
Agreements with the largest NGO The Danish Society for Nature Conservation on becoming a “Climate Municipality” with various obligations of measuring, lowering and campaigning.
Voluntary networks of front runner municipalities benchmark, evaluate end communicate energy- and construction related issues – as the Dogme 2000/Green City network
The 17 municipalities in region Zealand and the regional county have signed a climate policy programme, and will join in for the Covenant of Mayors programme – a formal commitment by the signatory city councils to go beyond the EU objectives in terms of CO2 reduction, through the implementation of sustainable energy action plans with concrete measures.
Besides this, various efforts to integrate energy- and climate politics in Local planning measures is being developed; such as Plan 09 looking for measures to integrate climate concern and energy cuts in the local district spatial and strategic planning documents. In general this decentralisation has been unfunded. The Organisation of Municipalities (KL) has suggested a mandatory elaboration of energy/CO2 plans of municipalities, but required that such an initiative should be funded from the government. But a liberal tax stop policy have hindered the allocation of resources for this. Central projects have been marginal – only providing general tools (e.g. for mapping/monitoring of CO2) and surveys.
Within the inter-municipality co-operation (KL) professional networks, addressing climate and energy issues have been set up. KL in general has adopted the climate and energy-agenda as one of its cornerstones.
Local business and ngo actors and eco-energy stakeholders are being included as partners in many of the climate and energy efforts and programmes of the municipalities. This shows a high variety in interaction schemes, ranging from professionalised institutions (Project Zero, Sønderborg) to participatory schemes (climate camp, Herning). Part of this public/private interaction and set-ups is an attempt to establish more room for manoeuvring, than laid down in ‘legal framework of municipalities’ [Kommunalfuldmagten] and the financial agreement with the Government.
Despite hesitating substantial support from central government and competition with other local agendas, there has been a group of local energy and climate (CO2-reduction) projects, involving in some extent construction and housing. They can be seen as part of a learning process, also in terms of learning about capacities and barriers. A study in relation to local CO2-reduction (Grontmij/Carl Bro 2009) has revealed that municipalities perceive major problems in the institutional and regulatory framework and the conditions offered by government. In relation to construction and housing, they point to
Conflicts between establishment of new low-energy settlements and mandatory connection to district heating laid down in a national law of heat distribution
Lack of instruments (e.g. a stronger building code) and financial room (e.g. low resources in the cooperative housing system (Landsbyggefonden) and limitations for local investments) hamper local refurbishing programs
Problems of building local capacity for integrated reduction programs.
This includes huge differences in municipality practices, and experiences. The case studies show a number of specific experiences of projects/initiatives taken by front runner municipalities, or municipalities, which have been participating in projects driven by social entrepreneurship.