Under the banner “City for everyone, putting people first”, Oslo was awarded the prestigious title of European Green Capital for 2019. Here is what to expect in the coming year.
Each year the European Commission selects a European Green Capital: a European city that can serve as a role model in implementing green solutions. Oslo emerged victorious in competition with 13 other cities, scoring best on eight of 12 indicators, including ambient air quality, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and local transport.
“Oslo has done a lot right for many years, preserved our forests and biodiversity, and invested heavily in effective infrastructure. In addition, the city’s inhabitants treat nature with care, sorting and recycling waste, and using public transport,” says Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen when explaining Oslo’s success.
Politicians, urban planners and representatives of the business community from around Europe and the world will in 2019 be coming to Oslo to learn how urban spaces offer unique opportunities for sustainable development and how these can be exploited.
“We will be hosting a number of large international conferences, and we are collaborating with a wide range of private sector actors who will be taking part and showcasing their solutions. Altogether we have nearly 170 partners from the business community, academia and grassroots organisations who will be participating in 350 events,” says Raymond Johansen.
Oslo will also make use of the opportunity to create lasting, sustainable change at home.
“This is more than just a happening,” stresses the governing mayor. “There are many projects underway in the city’s districts where we are collaborating with nursery schools, schools and local businesses to make a permanent impact.”
One of the cornerstones of Oslo’s environmental initiatives is that sustainability goes hand in hand with a better quality of life. One of the city’s goals is, for instance, to reduce the number of cars in the city centre, not just to cut transport emissions, but also to improve public health by reducing local air pollution. And fewer cars means more open urban spaces that can be filled with activities and green areas.
Similarly, the city is working to reopen its waterways, which is beneficial both for biodiversity and for a healthier urban environment.
The jury for the European Green Capital award praised Oslo for giving its citizens an active role in the green transition. Among other things, the city has developed a litter report app, organised speed-dating events with politicians and created an open climate budget showing where emissions must be reduced and who is responsible for doing so.
Oslo is among the world’s best when it comes to using green technology. One example is Klemetsrud CHP, a waste-to-energy plant where residual waste is incinerated and used in production of environment-friendly district heating and electricity. This enables Oslo to utilise its waste resources efficiently, while reducing fossil fuel consumption.
In addition, the city is collaborating with the national authorities on a [carbon capture facility] (https://www.oslo.kommune.no/english/politics-and-administration/green-oslo/best-practices/carbon-capture/#gref) at the Klemetsrud plant, which will be one of the most advanced carbon capture facilities in the world once completed.
Oslo is also at the head of the pack when it comes to electrification of the transport sector. Half of all new cars sold in the city are electric, making it the world’s capital for electric vehicles. Moreover, Ruter – the public transport company for the greater Oslo region – has stated that all its modes of transport will become emission free by 2028.
The construction sector, which accounts for roughly one fifth of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions, is also being electrified. The vision is to achieve zero-emission construction sites by 2025.
In 2019 Oslo is ready to shine, sharing its smart, sustainable and inclusive solutions with the world.