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You Know Where Copenhagen Is, But Did You Know…?

European Green Capital Award: Green Cities Fit for Life

Urban areas in Europe are the source of many of the continent’s current environmental challenges—not surprisingly, since three out of four Europeans live in towns and cities. Local governments and authorities can provide the commitment and innovation needed to tackle and resolve many of these problems.

One of the policy tools the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, is using to address these challenges is the European Green Capital Award (EGCA), which recognizes and rewards local efforts to improve the environment, the economy, and the quality of life in cities. The EGCA is awarded each year to a city, not necessarily a capital, which is leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living and which can act as a role-model to inspire other municipalities.

Copenhagen, winner of the 2014 title, was judged to be a highly successful role model for the green economy. The city has placed public-private partnerships at the core of its approach to eco-innovation and sustainable employment, working with companies, universities, and organizations in dedicated forums to develop and implement green growth. The jury singled out Copenhagen as a good model in terms of urban planning and design. The city is also something of a transport pioneer, aiming to become the world’s most practicable city for cyclists, and in doing so, contributing toward its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025.

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Did you know that poor air quality is the number one environmental cause of premature death in Europe, not to mention its negative impacts on respiratory health and related quality of life?  But the EU aims to reverse this trend with its new clean air policy package, which targets reduced harmful emissions from industry, traffic, energy plants, and agriculture. Once implemented, the clean air package could avoid some 58,000 premature deaths.  Read more.