Taking over the crown from Stockholm, Hamburg has emerged the European Green Capital 2011 in the competition organised by the European Commission. The European Commission believes that the future of European environmental protection lies in the hands of its cities who have to manage its resources of energy and combat issues of climate change since they have the most potential to develop and apply solutions to battling matters that harm the environment.
That's why its creation of the title European Green Capital has a three fold objective of rewarding cities who have shown environmental awareness and a consistency in green practices, to encourage them to act as role models to other cities in Europe and set plans to achieve optimum environmentally friendly standards of living and functioning. Hamburg with its population of about 1.8 million has aimed to reduce its green house gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Its climate change combat plan for 2010 was a comprehensive one. Hamburg's long term vision and future strategies for its environmental initiatives saw it emerge a winner.
More than rewards
But winning here isn't just about prizes. The city now has to frame and implement intelligent solutions to its issues of urban living, development of its renewable energies and aim to increase sustainable consumption. The city has Europe's third-largest portand while it already has 'container taxis' to transport goods between terminals thus reducing the use of trucks, its public transport system need more customers to make it environmentally viable.
In the application process 34 cities from 17 European countries, including Copenhagen and Amsterdam participated. Hamburg's reasons for participating include understanding where “Hamburg's environmental protection stands in relation to fellow international cities". The applicants saw potential for the city to become the green capital in 2012 or 2013 if not 2011.
Now Stockholm and Hamburg are officially the most environmentally friendly cities in Europe. In its presentation to the European Commissionthe Hamburg team had a slide that has an important message for all countries globally: “It's time to act – and Hamburg is willing to act.”