Hopenhagen gears up to highlight Climate Conference with pedal-powered Christmas tree

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The Independent Online

Environmental organization Hopenhagen has set up an alternative means of powering the traditional Christmas tree in Copenhagen's City Hall Square, by means of a series of bicycles hooked up via generator equipment to its festive lights. After all, the energy has to come from somewhere, so why not from us ourselves?

The tree's decorations usually churn out an estimated 9 tonnes of carbon dioxide as a byproduct of their demanding energy requirements, but in honor of the UN Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen December 7-18 the seasonal lights will be exclusively person-powered from the hours of 4pm to 8pm.

The rest of the time, the lights will be powered by backup generators, though that won't be too much of a worry as over the last 30 years Denmark has halved its oil dependency through the introduction of enough turbines to make it Europe's largest producer of wind energy.

Visitors and citizens alike are being invited by Hopenhagen and tourist service Wonderful Copenhagen to take a turn on the bikes in order to keep the festive spirit alive and demonstrate how easy - and fun - it can be to switch to more environmentally considerate sources of energy.

Cycling and Copenhagen go hand-in-hand, as the city is home to over 350 km of cycle lanes, one-third of Copenhageners use a bicycle for the totality of their commute, averaging three kilometers on a daily basis, and Denmark as a whole has the second highest percentage of bicycle share - only the Netherlands are higher in Europe.

Copenhagen has become internationally reknowned for its cycling initiatives, with other international cities such as Paris, Dublin, Barcelona, Portland, Montreal, Brussels and Tokyo inspired to implement public-hire bicycle sharing schemes in recent years.

More information: hopenhagenlive.com