Since 2009, Copenhagen has been vocal about plans to become the first carbon-neutral capital city by 2025, but that goal is now off the table after the Amager Resourcecenter (ARC) incineration plant failed an attempt to reduce its emissions, broadcaster DR reports.
“As things look now, we cannot achieve our ambitious climate target,” the head of the city municipality’s elected technical and environmental committee, Line Barfoed, said to DR on Monday.
Barfoed explained that the ARC plant has not fulfilled criteria set be the Danish Energy Agency (Energistyrelsen) which would have entitled it to state funding for CO2 extraction technology.
The plant is therefore unable to acquire the necessary CO2 extraction technology to bring its emissions down.
Copenhagen mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen also expressed regret over the missed goal but sounded a conciliatory note.
“It’s a shame we won’t reach it by 2025. I’m really sorry about that,” Andersen told DR.
“But that’s not the same as saying we won’t make it in 2026, 2027, or 2028. That’s why we still have hope that we will succeed,” she said.
According to Andersen, Copenhagen has already slashed CO2 emissions by 80 percent. But 100 percent emissions reduction would require the ARC plant to access parts of an 8-billion-kroner state fund, which would finance the first full-scale CO2 extraction project in Denmark.
According to media Energiwatch, ARC decided against applying for the funding because it does not have enough capital required to meet criteria.
The facility already practices partial, smaller-scale CO2 filtration.
Barfoed criticised parliament and the government for not giving local authorities sufficient resources to hit their climate targets.
“Criteria were made to access state funds for developing CO2 extraction technology, where they knew in advance that the ARC facility in Copenhagen Municipality could not live up to them. We had simply not imagined this,” she said.
“We will keep fighting to go as far as we can with the goals we have set for ourselves,” the city official also said.
In a written comment to DR, climate and energy minister Dan Jørgensen noted that other municipal incineration facilities in Denmark – including nearby Vestforbrændingen in Glostrup – had qualified for the state funding.
“I understand that ARC has been challenged in relation to the criteria for a certain amount of capital. When the state pays out large amounts, it is standard that certain requirements are attached in relation to the companies’ own finances. That also applies in this case,” he said.