Oslo introduces first-of-its-kind “Climate Budget” to cut emissions in half by 2020

When Oslo’s city government launches its budget in 2017, the city will no longer simply count money, but it will also track carbon emissions. For a long time, Oslo has had ambitious emission reduction targets, yet emissions have increased by 15 percent since 1990. To ensure the city’s low-carbon ambitions are followed by action, the 2017 city budget has allocated a reduction of 836,000 tons of CO2 to relevant sectors in Oslo.

In late spring, the city council passed a new Climate and Energy Strategy, which aims to reduce emissions by 50 percent by 2020 (from 1990 levels) and to become carbon neutral by 2030. In order reach the carbon emissions reduction goal, Oslo needs support from the national government to develop a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project for renewable energy at the Klemetsrud Plant, which accounts for 15 percent of the city’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

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To reach the 2020 target, the Norwegian capital has identified 42 measures that directly affect the city’s emissions and are now outlined in a new chapter in the city budget, called the “Climate Budget.” The Climate Budget, a first of its kind plan, shows estimated emission reductions, its financing and each agency in charge.

Governing Mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen said:

“By introducing a Climate Budget along with the financial budget we aim to count carbon reductions the way we count money.”

Also new, is the visualization of shared responsibility in transitioning to a carbon neutral future—including Oslo agencies, municipal companies and the city districts. The 42 measures will also mobilize and involve Oslo urbanites, the business community and NGOs – all crucial in making Oslo a leading green city. 

Just like the use of public funding is monitored throughout the year, the progress on climate measures will be scrutinized by the city as well. Through continuous reporting and debates on the progress of each measure, the city government aims to inform and involve the city council and the people of Oslo.

Oslo’s main source of emissions is transportation, fossil fuel use in buildings and waste incineration. While many of these measures can be implemented without the need for additional funding, measures to increase the use of bicycles as a form of public transport, improve the public transport system and phase out oil boilers from buildings will require additional funding in 2017.

Mayor Johansen noted:

“We cannot wait to reduce emissions —these actions cannot be implemented somewhere else, at another time, and by somebody else. However, the city itself cannot be solely responsible for making the cuts—we only control 4 percent of the emissions. Our most important role is to facilitate the cuts through governance, and the new Climate Budget is the most important climate governance tool to help us achieve our goals.”

More facts about the Climate Budget:

  • The Climate Budget counts 42 measures that together will reduce Oslo’s carbon emissions from 1.4 million tons in 2013, to 600 000 tons in 2020.
  • The responsibility for implementing and seeing the measures through is distributed across the city departments. In addition, the recently established Climate Agency will have a role as a knowledge hub and agent for the implementation of the measures in Oslo.
  • The measures that will reduce emissions the most towards 2020 are financial incentives and the national ban on oil boilers from 2020, full scale CCS at the waste incineration plant and a long list of measures aiming to reduce emissions from car traffic, construction sites and goods transport.
  • In the 2017 budget approximately 225 mill. NOK (approximately 25 mill. EUR/ 28 mill. USD/ 21 mill. GBP) have been allocated specifically for climate measures.

CO2 emissions in Oslo, per 1,000 tons CO2, from 1990 – 2015, and projections including new climate targets for 2020 and 2030:

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