Copenhagen abandons 2025 CO2-neutrality goal

Lofty aim no longer realistic as the ARC incinerator in Amager has given up applying for state funds for a carbon capture plant for its chimneys

Back in 2009 when Copenhagen proudly unveiled its 2025 CO2-neutrality goal, the news went around the world.

PM Mette Frederiksen also used the ambitious target as a major talking point when the Danish capital hosted the C40 Climate Summit in 2019. 

But now the city has been forced to abandon its trailblazing goal.

According to city mayor Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, the aim is no longer realistic following the news that the ARC incinerator in Amager has given up applying for state funds for a carbon capture plant for its chimneys.

“It’s super unfortunate that we won’t reach the goal in 2025. I’m very sad about it. But it doesn’t mean we can’t get there in 2026, 2027 or 2028. So we still have a hope that we can succeed,” Andersen told DR Nyheder.

Andersen said that Copenhagen has reduced its CO2 emissions by 80 percent – above the 70 percent target for this year – but to attain full CO2-neutrality it would require the ARC incinerator to gain access to the state’s 8 billion kroner CCS slush fund.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen named world’s most sustainable city

Big plans scuppered
According to, ARC doesn’t have the necessary equity capital to do so.

ARC has been working on capturing CO2 for a while now – it already has a demo plant up and running, which has demonstrated an ability to capture CO2 emissions from its chimneys. 

And next year, a bigger plant is scheduled to be established. 

The plan was then to scale up even bigger in 2025 with a plant that can filter all CO2 out of emissions.

“They [the state] set some criteria to be able to gain access to the state funds to develop CO2 capture technology that they knew that the ARC waste plant in Copenhagen Municipality couldn’t live up to,” Line Barfoed, the city’s mayor for technical issues, told DR Nyheder.

“We thought we could breach the final stretch by capturing CO2 from the waste we still have to burn. We hadn’t imagined that the government wouldn’t be in on it.”

READ ALSO: Svaneke becomes Denmark’s first CO2-neutral brewery

New goal for 2035!
The government, meanwhile, has countered that other municipal plants – including Vestforbrændingen in Glostrup – have managed to qualify to gain access to the funds.

“When the state forks out such immense sums, it is standard procedure that some demands follow regarding the finances of the company involved,” Dan Jørgensen, the climate minister, wrote to DR Nyheder.

Despite the setback, Andersen is adamant that Copenhagen will get there in the end.

In a social media post, she presented a new vision that Copenhagen should contribute positively to climate calculations by 2035 at the latest.

“Does it suck? Yes, very much so. So I can promise you that we won’t sit on our hands. We will continue working. Because Copenhagen MUST be at the forefront of the climate agenda,” said Andersen.

“We shouldn’t just be climate-neutral. We need to be even more ambitious.”