If a city has felt the dramatic effects of climate change, it is New York City. The Hurricane Sandy flooding in 2012 was disastrous to the City, but also an eye opener: Climate change is for real and must be challenged.
New York has indeed taken up the challenge. Not on her own, but by seeking inspiration from the best and most original thinkers of the world. Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has delivered the solution to lower Manhattan with The Dry Line - a brilliant, yet very simple solution where a public park can turn into a shield against new floodings, preventing damages worth billions of dollars in the future.
Today, New York City and New York State are setting new American standards for reduction of greenhouse gasses and taking major steps to strengthen renewable energy and sustainable solutions. Mayor Bill de Blasio has ambitiously set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 from the 2005 level. Buildings account for about three-quarters of the City's emissions and a major focus is on reductions of emissions from buildings. At New York State level, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced a number of initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions from the energy sector by 40 per cent by 2030 - including the closure of all coal fired power plants by 2020 and a 5 billion dollar investment in renewable energy over the next 10 years.
From a Danish perspective, it has been positive to experience New York's desire for dialogue with our green solutions providers. For decades, Denmark has been pushing hard internationally for renewable energy and energy-efficiency. Denmark has taken her own medicine; the ambition is to become the first country in the world to be independent of fossil fuels. While the Danish capital Copenhagen aspires to be the first carbon neutral capital by 2025, Danish 'green' private sector solutions are a global inspiration; in energy-efficient buildings, industrial solutions, in wind power, water and much more. To finance it all, institutional investors like pension funds have developed original, top-notch financing schemes for major projects that all make a green difference around the world. So when highly sophisticated Danish transition professionals feel that they have a lot to share with a global power center like New York, it is thrilling to witness the positive response from authorities in the City, the State, as well as the industrial and financial sectors.
In order to foster even closer ties between Denmark and New York and to share visions and expertise, the leading Danish business organisation, The Confederation of Danish Industry, and the not-for-profit public-private branding partnership, State of Green, have joined forces in setting up the Danish Cleantech Hub in Brooklyn. There is every reason to believe that this hub in coming years will serve as a genuine catalyst for developing the environmentally right and most cost-effective green solutions to the New York energy transition and climate change action program.
As a single point of entry, the aim of the Danish Cleantech Hub is to enable connections between change drivers and find the best solutions, strengthen business ties and create value in both our countries. The Danish Cleantech Hub focuses on public-private partnerships and co-creation on major development projects like social housing, water management, climate adaption, city planning and mobility management. We have a lot to learn from one another. The future is all about sharing experience and best practices. Together we can prove that that the green transition is good business in every sense of the word.