Hamburg: Green Role Model for Europe
Enlarge image (© dpa) Developing cycle paths, improving public transport, putting more electric vehicles on the roads, modernizing houses, designating areas for new biotopes and using waste for energy production are just some of the environmentally friendly ideas with which Hamburg aims to make a mark as European Green Capital in 2011.Germany’s second largest city, which has 1.7 million inhabitants, was awarded the honour by the European Commission and beat 35 European competitors in the process.Hamburgis now the second city – after the Swedish capitalStockholm– to receive this title for an exemplary commitment to environmental protection and nature conservation.
In Hamburg the award is regarded as an opportunity for the city – and as an incentive to become even more ecological. Hamburg wants to show how ecology and economics can be combined in a green European metropolis. The city is planning over 200 events and projects for its year as European Green Capital. They focus on subjects such as mobility, climate and energy, the natural environment and urban greenery, urban development and housing, resource protection and management and sustainable consumption. Additionally, the Hanseatic city is also launching a “Train of Ideas”. This mobile exhibition is going on tour from mid-April 2011 onwards. It will be presenting ideas for environmentally friendly metropoles in several European cities from Oslo to Barcelona and Nantes to Warsaw.
Hamburg has set itself the ambitious targets of reducing emissions of climate-damaging carbon dioxide by 40% before 2020 and by 80% before 2050, by which time the city aims to completely make do without fossil fuels. When it comes to electricity generation, there has already been a threefold increase in the use of renewable energies during the last twelve years. The HafenCity (photograph), Europe’s largest urban development project, is a model for climate-friendly housing. The third largest port in Europe is also a good example of how nature conservation and a strong economy do not have to be mutually exclusive. In Hamburg an environmentally friendly container taxi replaces up to 60 trucks in the port and transports 150,000 containers from one terminal to another every year.