Amsterdam is a front-runner as far as sustainability is concerned. The municipality’s ambitions for a cleaner climate are more far-reaching than the national targets: by 2025, Amsterdam wants to reduce CO2 emissions in the city by 40% with respect to 1990. In order to realize this, we are investing in energy saving measures in existing buildings and stimulating the efficient use of energy in new buildings. We are also investing in, for example, electric transportation and an efficient energy infrastructure for heat and cold storage, and are working on cleaner mobility and sustainable electricity generation technologies for use inside the city. The municipal organization itself will be climate neutral by 2015: the organization will emit as little greenhouse gas as possible and where emissions cannot be avoided, they will be compensated for, thereby reducing the net emission to zero.
In order to achieve these goals, we sometimes collaborate in unusual strategic alliances. Local market players, citizens and organizations are enthusiastically embracing developments in the field of clean, sustainable energy and are acting as co-producers of the policies. It is by combining everyone’s competences and skills that the affordable, smart, flexible and innovative energy solutions of the future will come into being. This new market, in which citizens, governments and private participants take part, will continue to grow in importance. Amsterdam is keen to exploit the developments in the field of sustainable energy and to function as a testing ground for new technologies and new products in this market. Through these initiatives, Amsterdam is showing other cities that it is possible to realize ambitious targets for CO2 reductions.
It is of great importance not only to emphasize energy saving measures, but also to increase knowledge about energy and the challenges we face. The question of energy is not an abstract one: it directly affects us all – although it is especially the young who will be confronted during their lives with the consequences of energy scarcity. This is why Amsterdam is working together with several partners to increase the awareness among both school and university students of the opportunities offered and the threats posed by increasing fossil fuel scarcity and the developments concerning wind and solar energy. Energy issues present us with challenges, but will also lead to new jobs and economic opportunities for our students.