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City Profiles

Copenhagen - Denmark

Climate change impacts

We cannot get away from it: the climate is changing, and in the future Copenhagen will get more rain, higher sea levels and warmer weather. This presents Copenhagen with a number of challenges.

Main motivation for taking adaptation action

Copenhagen's motivation for taking adaptation action stems from the extreme, water-related consequences of climate change to which the city is exposed. The risk assessments that have been carried out in the Copenhagen climate adaptation plan, show that there is a significant risk for the city of being hit by torrential rain and flooding from the sea. This risk will increase significantly in the future if climate change proceeds as forecasts predict.

Adaptation strategy

Have you already developed an adaptation strategy?
Yes, we have an adaptation strategy
Name of the strategy/ plan (If adopted)
Copenhagen Climate Adaptation Plan
Date of strategy/plan approval
Aug 25, 2011
Summary of the strategy/plan
With its Climate Adaptation Plan, Copenhagen outlines the challenges the city faces in the short and medium term as a result of expected changes in the climate. It also identifies those solutions that, based on our present-day knowledge, appear to be most appropriate and reveal the opportunities climate change may also present to the city. Copenhagen's plan also adopts a development scenario in line with the SRES A2 scenario of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Planned adaptation actions

Copenhagen's Adaptation Plan focusses on three levels of adaptation: 1) reducing the likelihood of an event happening, 2) reducing the scale of the event, and 3) reducing the city's vulnerability to the event. Some examples of adaptation measures include disconnection of storm water from the sewer by separation or SUDS, establishing dikes, raising building elevation, building green structures, and monitoring the impact of the changing climate on public health.

Good practice / spotlight item

Cloudburst Management Plan 2012
Heavy rainfall in July 2011 prompted the city of Copenhagen to develop a Cloudburst Management Plan in 2012 in order to prepare the city for one of the biggest climate change challenges it faces, namely extreme rainfall and pluvial flooding. The Plan contains approximately 300 site-specific projects. Some of the Plan's adaptation measures include developing structures that allow rainwater to be led out to sea such as roads, canals, and tunnels; developing storage for surface runoff such as emergency flood channels; and the building of blue-green infrastructure throughout the city. More information can be found here.
Copenhagen during the flooding on 2 July 2011.

Climate change impacts

  • Extreme Temperatures
  • Flooding
  • Sea Level Rise

Key vulnerable sectors

  • Urban
  • Buildings
  • Biodiversity
  • Financial
  • Energy
  • Health
  • Transport


Morten Kabell


580000 inhabitants

Contact person

Jan Rasmussen
Head of Project for the Copenhagen Climate Change Adaptation Plan


Mayors Adapt signatory

Date of officially joining Mayors Adapt

Mar 04, 2014

Last Update

Sep 26, 2016

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