Mayors Voices: Oslo Governing Mayor, Stian Berger Røsland

“We respond to climate change by global commitment and through local action. Our vision is to move Oslo from a low carbon towards a zero emission city.”

Stian Berger Roesland 1000x1500

The City of Oslo is proud to join the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group – and I am excited to be partnering with C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Bloomberg in making cities a leading force for climate action around the world. This gives us the inspiration to work even harder to address climate change – by cooperating with and learning from the engaged cities of the global C40 network.

In Oslo, we are actively implementing innovative solutions to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. And I want to continue and strengthen this effort. The City Council has set targets to halve GHG emissions from 1990 levels by 2030, bringing our already low direct GHG emissions (2.3 tons of CO2 per capita) to well below 1 ton per capita in this timeframe. By 2050 we aim to be carbon neutral. Now powered by clean hydro power, Oslo will meet its reduction targets through integrated policies that include:

  • Energy efficiency and use of local energy resources
  • CO2 free heating
  • A long term transition towards CO2 free transport

We are committed to achieving a long term and continuous transformation towards a zero emission city.

Award-winning strategies

Across key sectors, Oslo is actively advancing award-winning strategies and policies to lower emissions, boost efficiency and improve the quality of life for its citizens.

The most advanced intelligent street lighting in the world has been built and tested in Oslo. The project “Intelligent street lighting” has demonstrated that energy consumed by street lighting can be reduced by as much as 70 percent. Each lamp can be individually dimmed according to traffic and climatic conditions etc. Intelligent lighting reduces CO2 emissions and saves money.

In 2008 we decided to replace all oil heaters with renewable energy systems in municipal buildings by 2011. For this substantial action, the City of Oslo received commendation from the government of Norway for implementing one of the most far-reaching local climate actions in 2012.

From next year, food waste in Oslo will be treated in the world’s largest treatment plant producing bio methane for buses and bio fertilizer for around 1,000 medium-sized farms. The waste is sorted in the world’s largest optical sorting facility. The bio methane plant received the 2012 Innovation award from the Norwegian Research Council.

Transport emissions remain a challenge with regard to both GHG emissions and local air quality. Even so, Oslo has made great strides in addressing this issue:

  • Creating infrastructure for electric and hydrogen-powered mobility: Oslo is aspiring to remain the Electric Vehicle Capital of the world. We give electric cars free passage through Oslo’s toll (ring) road and these drivers are allowed to use lanes otherwise reserved for public transport. Oslo has installed more than 400 parking stations with free charging. In 2013 the city will install another 200 charging points. This makes Oslo world-leading in EV-infrastructure. 
  • Turning the public transport carbon neutral: It is our goal to make public transport carbon neutral by 2020. One of the main solutions is to use biogas, produced from wastewater sludge and organic waste, in buses. Oslo is furthermore contributing to the development of hybrid fuel cell buses through the HyNor pilot project, which is testing 5 hybrid fuel cell buses in regular traffic conditions. We demand carbon-free solutions even for the more environmentally friendly transport modes.
  • Public transport financed by road charging: Our road charging scheme is contributing to lower growth in car use, and generating revenues to fund public transport infrastructure investment and operational costs. The number of public transport journeys has grown by approximately 35 percent from 2000 to 2011; public transport in Oslo now comprises 45 percent of all motorized transport. With more citizens walking, cycling or taking public transport, 64 percent of all travels in the city are environmentally friendly.

Biogassbuss Operaen

The role of the city is crucial in the transformation towards a low and zero emission society. We all have some major challenges for success in city climate leadership. We have to strive to find solutions that deliver substantial GHG reductions and enable a long-term transition towards sustainability. And I am looking forward to joining the common work of C40 in making a real difference in the future of our world.

To learn more about Oslo as a “city of the future”, watch this video here. To read Oslo’s announcement about joining C40, click here for English version and here for Norwegian.