How does the bicycle interact with other means of transport?
Kabell: Copenhagen has ensured that people can take their bikes to the train station and into the train without any problems. Commuters and tourists should reach their destination as easily as possible. It would be extremely short-sighted not to think of all means of transport together.
Hedegaard: My house is located eight kilometers from the city center. When I have to go to the center, I know that I can bring the bike home on the train if necessary. That gives me a feeling of freedom.
What role does e-mobility play?
Kabell: In terms of climate protection, e-cars are much better than internal combustion engines. However, there is one problem: If I were to buy an electric vehicle, I wouldn’t have the slightest idea where I could charge it in our neighborhood. And that’s even though I live in the middle of Brussels. Companies, cities and governments must work closely together to change this.
Hedegaard: By expanding the charging infrastructure, we could immediately create many jobs – that would be immensely important in the crisis. At the same time, we would prevent bottlenecks if the number of electric cars increased. In my case in Copenhagen, the infrastructure is fine – although we could do more in the cities, too. The real problem is in the countryside. The further out I drive, the fewer charging points I find. We should make the expansion a joint project. The goal: When the crisis is over, there will be enough charging points in Europe. At the same time, we have to push ahead with the energy transition so that electric cars run on clean electricity.
What can companies like Volkswagen contribute towards making the rebuilding process green?
Hedegaard: An extremely important point are the products. That means more and more electric cars with increasingly better ranges. Volkswagen has sent out a strong signal by announcing that the time of the combustion engine is running out. The company is building on electric mobility. In the supply chain, Volkswagen is committed to clean raw materials and clean logistics. And last but not least, large companies have large marketing budgets. They have the chance to convince people: e-cars are the future, e-cars work in everyday life.
Copenhagen wants to be climate-neutral by 2025. What can other cities learn from this?
Kabell: Two things. Firstly, it needs not only a clear goal, but also a precise timetable. That was missing in Copenhagen at the beginning. The city has now corrected this initial error. Today there is a detailed timetable with more than 400 individual targets. Second: climate-neutral cities are possible. With the measures adopted, Copenhagen will achieve more than 90 percent of its objectives. The city now has a few years to achieve the rest – which I am sure it will. However, becoming carbon neutral requires close cooperation with the surrounding regions, national governments and the EU. No city can become climate-neutral on its own.