Copenhagen outcomes and costs

By on 22/12/2009 in News, Video News

 Birmingham City Council today issues the costs and outcomes of the council’s recent trip to the UN Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.

The City Council was specially invited by the Mayor of Copenhagen to contribute to the “Mayors Summit on Climate Change” in the COP15 negotiations on climate change.

This is a prestigious invitation for the City, and only three other British cities were invited - London, Manchester and Bristol.

There were over 60 cities attending from all continents - Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australasia - as well as European cities.

Birmingham was represented by the Deputy Leader of the City Council (Cllr Paul Tilsley) who has lead responsibility for climate change and sustainability, and the City Council's Head of Climate Change and Sustainability (Sandy Taylor).

The invitation was in recognition of the efforts which Birmingham has already taken to address climate change and reduce carbon emissions in Birmingham. This has been recognised by the award of a “Green Flag” by the Audit Commission on 9th December.

A number of projects in the city have already won awards and been recognised for the pioneering work which has been undertaken. These include the City Centre District Energy networks, the Summerfield Eco-Village; and the Faith and Climate Change project.

The Birmingham delegation in Copenhagen:

  • Presented the Birmingham Declaration on Climate Change (passed by City Council on 1st December) to the Mayors Summit
  • Presented the key message on “Seal the Deal” from the Birmingham Climate Change Childrens Summit, which was held in Birmingham on 2nd December, to the Mayors Summit
  • Promoted Birmingham's key aim of securing new “green jobs and investment” for the city. Further opportunities were developed with other institutions and private sector partners attending the Mayors Summit to promote the city's ambitions and potential for low carbon investments in Birmingham.
  • Promoted Birmingham's role with Mitsubishi (and other electric car manufacturers) in leading the CABLED Consortium (the electric car demonstration project which was launched launched in Centenary Square, Birmingham on 12th December). The Deputy Leader showcased with Mitsubishi one of the CABLED Consortium electric cars in Copenhagen, in partnership with the Clinton Climate Initiative and the Mayor of Toronto. This also promoted Birmingham's involvement in the developing European “Green Car” programme during the Mayors Summit. 

This was therefore a significant opportunity in the presence of public and private sector partners as well as world media to further increase the profile and reputation of Birmingham as a city responding, and leading on low carbon opportunities to create new jobs and economic wealth for Birmingham citizens and businesses.

Key specific outcomes from the visit include:

  • We gained support for the Birmingham Declaration from the Mayors of Los Angeles, Mexico City and London on the need for cities to team up together and procure electric and green vehicles.
  • We met with a company involved with biomass energy and discussed plans for extension of BioEnergy in Birmingham; we also gained further insights into bio waste recycling from restaurants and hotels which taken place in Kyoto. This will be useful in the development of Birmingham's plans for anaerobic digestion and bio waste facilities.
  • We also had very useful discussions with Arup on future funding and access to finance for retrofitting of cities to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, which we will follow up in a future meeting in Birmingham.
  • Valuable fact finding discussions took place with Basle and Zurich on energy planning for cities. This will provide useful evidence as we prepare a new City Energy Plan for Birmingham in 2010.
  • Following the presentation of the Copenhagen Green Bike, which regenerates its own power which the cyclist can use when climbing gradients. We have asked the innovators to come over to Birmingham to discuss its further development and use in the city.
  • Birmingham's participation in the “Green Vehicle Parade”, with the Mitsubishi electric i-MiEV car has helped to further strengthen links with electric car manufacturers. And we also met colleagues from Utrecht on joint work on electric cars and being a partner in a future European “Green car” project with the Hessen region in Germany.
  • We also had a presentation on how climate change will affect cities and on adaptation to climate change. The University of Copenhagen team will share their knowledge and experience with us in relation to our own work with the University of Birmingham on understanding climate change impacts on Birmingham. This will help develop our own resilience plans for the city.
  • We also met with and presented to the COP 15 UK delegation offices, the “Birmingham Declaration” and the “Birmingham Children's Climate Change Summit” message.
  • We also visited Copenhagen's “science and environment” centre. We believe there is real scope to develop joint work between Birmingham and Copenhagen on children's and environmental awareness, which has the potential to attract European funding, which we will now develop as a result of what we have learnt on this visit.


Key points:

The number of people who went to Copenhagen from Birmingham City Council was two (Cllr Paul Tilsley - Deputy Leader of the Council; Sandy Taylor - Head of Climate Change and Sustainability)

The total cost of the trip was made up as follows:

  • Accommodation = £2,800 (this was for a minimum of five nights each due to the conditions imposed by the Danish Government on the summit organisers).
  • Flights (£571) - economy class. This is the combined cost for both flights.
  • Other miscellaneous costs = £90 (misc travel, refreshments, etc).  This is a combined figure for the two delegates.

This was a major global event taking place in Copenhagen. There were three factors affecting the price of accommodation in Copenhagen during the COP15 and Mayors Climate Change Summit:

(i) Copenhagen is already the 7th most expensive city to live and work in (7th on the 2009 Mercer City Index).

(ii) the bedspace rack rent was substantially increased due to the demand for rooms. We estimate that it was at least doubled compared with normal seasonal rates in winter. There were estimated to be up to 14,000 delegates attending the COP15 in Copenhagen.

(iii) the Danish Government placed an obligation on the City of Copenhagen that a minimum of 5 nights accommodation must be booked by the Cities invited to the Summit.

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