2.8 The City of Oslo’s follow-up of the climate strategy

Under proposition 109/20, the City Council adopted the Oslo’s Climate Strategy towards 2030. The strategy has five overarching objectives, along with 16 associated priority areas. Implementation of the strategy is a prerequisite for achieving Oslo’s ambitious climate targets, contributing to emission reductions outside the boundaries of the City of Oslo, and ensuring that Oslo is equipped to meet climate change. As part of the resolution, the City Government will show how the Climate Strategy is being followed up through the annual budgets. A brief description is given below of the key initiatives in 2022 and the work that will be done during the economic plan period under the five main targets (main target 1 is discussed in the previous chapters, as it is part of the Climate Budget).

In addition to the review below, there are also a number of cross-cutting initiatives under the auspices of the municipality which will help to meet several of the targets in the Climate Strategy. One particularly important task will be the revision of the City of Oslo’s land-use section in the municipal master plan in accordance with the visions set out in the societal section for a greener, warmer and more creative city with room for everyone. One of the main aims behind the revision will be to contribute to attainment of the target of a 95 % reduction in GHG emissions in the municipality through urban development along the subway network and the prioritisation of development from the “inside out”, along with the facilitation of a robust city in the face of climate change. Land-use priorities, land for climate measures and provisions in the land-use section of the municipal master plan also represent important prerequisites if Oslo is to achieve its climate targets.

2.8.1 Oslo’s natural environment shall be managed in such a way that natural carbon storage in vegetation and soil is protected and the greenhouse gas removal in forests and other vegetation increase by 2030

The Norwegian Environment Agency has published a beta version of an emission inventory for land use in Norwegian municipalities. This inventory shows that total carbon absorption in the forestry and land-use sector fell by around 16,000 tonnes CO2e from 2010 to 2015 (from around -110,000 to -96,000 tonnes CO2e). Although absorption in forest areas rose during the period, there was an overall decrease due to a rise in emissions from land-use changes (development). The statistics for forestry and land use are published every five years. The next publication is expected in spring 2022. The figures are subject to considerable uncertainty.

In partnership with the Agency for Urban Environment, the Climate Agency has recommended a raft of measures aimed at incorporating climate considerations into the City of Oslo’s forests, in line with the guidance that measures with a positive impact on climate adaptation (both carbon storage and climate adaptation), biodiversity and outdoor recreation are to be given priority. The recommendations only include forests owned by the City of Oslo. Amongst other things, the agencies have recommended further work on underlying data and indicators that can enable developments to be measured more accurately.

Within the building zone, a number of strategic initiatives and projects have been initiated which will bring us closer to achieving our targets. The Oslo Trees project is aiming to plant 100,000 more trees around the city and to take better care of our existing trees. The Agency for Planning and Building Services (PBE) is developing the Green Portal, a database which will provide an overview of the city’s trees and the ecosystem services provided by the urban forest, as a basis for planning and management. PBE is also responsible for the Green Inventory, a land-use inventory which quantifies the extent of green structure in Oslo’s building zone and changes in it. A project has also been initiated to strengthen our knowledge of carbon storage in areas of the building zone.

2.8.2 Oslo’s total energy consumption in 2030 shall be reduced by 10 % compared with 2009

Total energy consumption in Oslo has fallen compared with 2009. Total energy consumption includes the consumption of electricity, district heating, wood-firing, heating oil/kerosene and petroleum products in the transport sector. No official combined energy inventory is currently compiled for Norwegian municipalities. The figures referred to here are uncertain and compiled on the basis of statistics from Statistics Norway, the Norwegian Environment Agency’s municipal greenhouse gas inventory and the Norwegian District Heating Association. Together with Stavanger, Bergen and Trondheim, the City of Oslo has asked the national authorities to establish a national energy inventory for Norwegian municipalities.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty linked to the underlying data, total energy consumption in Oslo fell during the period 2009-2019. Between 2014 and 2019, the decline was less than in the preceding years. Over the same period, the city saw population growth of around 18 %, which means that the energy savings per capita are actually greater.

The target of a 10 % reduction can probably be achieved by 2030, but this will require a continuing targeted commitment to energy efficiency in all sectors, partly through electrification. The City of Oslo owns both direct and indirect stakes in the energy companies Hafslund E-CO, Fortum Oslo Varme and Elvia. These companies are essential in the electrification of society. Municipal entities are working to reduce energy consumption in their own buildings and to ensure that new buildings are constructed in an energy-efficient manner (based on passive house standards). The City Government is proposing to set aside NOK 9.1 million annually in 2022 and 2023 for the installation of solar panels on many of Oslobygg’s buildings.

2.8.3 Oslo’s capacity to withstand climate change shall be strengthened towards 2030, and the city will be developed so that it is prepared for the changes projected by 2100

Stormwater Management Action Plan

The City of Oslo’s work on stormwater management is the single most important initiative in order to become climate-robust. A targeted effort to develop a climate-robust Oslo is underway, and sustainable management of stormwater and urban flooding are key elements in this process. Numerous measures have been implemented since the Stormwater Management Action Plan was considered at political level in 2019 (proposition 291/19). Thematic maps for stormwater and urban flooding, which are expected to be completed in 2023, and the development of the Stormwater Management Guide, are important prerequisites for implementing many of the other measures in the plan.

The City Government is proposing to increase Chapter 542, Agency for Urban Environment by NOK 2 million in 2022 in order to follow up the municipality’s Stormwater Management Act Plan, a total increase of NOK 27 million during the term of the economic plan. The City of Oslo’s property enterprise is working continuously to delay stormwater on municipal land. The enterprise currently has 15 construction projects in which stormwater management has been integrated. These are expected to be implemented or completed during the term of the economic plan. Common to all is that they have green roofs and other naturally based solutions. Work is underway on the development of a stormwater management communication strategy with the aim of strengthening the communication work relating to stormwater management from 2022.


Other initiatives
From 2022, a number of new or revised instruments will be introduced which will strengthen the efforts being made to ensure that Oslo becomes a climate-robust city. Through the work to revise the land-use section of the municipal master plan, the aim is to take greater account of current and future climate, including not only stormwater, but also other natural events which are being exacerbated by climate change. This will include taking greater account of the preservation and development of blue-green structures, further development of the Green Inventory (see the discussion under the carbon storage target), and the strengthening of risk and vulnerability analyses in planning processes, with a particular focus on ground conditions.

The Agency for Planning and Building Services has developed a set of criteria for climate assessments which are used in the processing of detailed regulations. The criteria for stormwater management and blue-green structures are of particular importance as regards climate adaptation. From 2021, these criteria will also be used in area regulations, which will contribute to more holistic and sustainable solutions for managing both current and future climate.

The regulations concerning the blue-green factor set out minimum requirements for nature-based solutions in housing projects, in other buildings and in connection with land use. The strategy for green roofs and façades is another tool which will strengthen nature-based solutions in the city. Both of these documents will be finalised in 2021 and will help to ensure that climate considerations are given greater priority in connection with construction projects and land use.

One important task which will enhance the city’s climate resilience in 2022 and during the term of the economic plan is the re-establishment and restoration of the natural environment in Marka and the city. The Agency for Urban Environment is responsible for this task and is planning to restore one or two wetland areas a year during the term of the economic plan. Stream reinstatement in Klosterenga will commence in 2021, and the reinstatement of Hovinbekken in Østre parkdrag will be completed by late autumn 2023. Flower meadows will be established as part of these projects. The Oslo Trees project is another important initiative which will enable the city to withstand both higher rainfall and higher temperatures.

2.8.4 Oslo’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions generated outside the municipality shall be substantially lower in 2030 than in 2020

A number of processes are underway to reduce Oslo’s contribution to GHG emissions outside the city’s boundaries (indirect, consumption-based GHG emissions). Central to these is the municipality’s consumption strategy «Future consumption – strategy for sustainable and reduced consumption 2019-2030», which was adopted in 2019. The strategy sets out how the city’s inhabitants, the municipality’s entities and the business community can use more sustainable alternatives. Material consumption will be reduced by sharing, renting, borrowing, repairing, reusing, recycling and buying second hand.

The Agency for Urban Environment has drawn up a list of measures to promote sustainable and reduced consumption which have been incorporated into the City Government’s proposed budget for 2022. Funding schemes for projects and pilots have already been initiated to promote reuse amongst the municipal entities. The City of Oslo’s work relating to environmental management and certification is also an important tool in the efforts being made to reduce indirect emissions.


Indicators for consumption-based GHG emissions
During 2021, a set of indicators will be developed for sustainable and reduced consumption for the City of Oslo’s own operations and the Oslo community. Several of the municipal entities are involved in this project, which is an R&D partnership with three research organisations (OsloMet/SIFO, NORSUS and CICERO). The aim of the project is to develop indicators which illustrate consumption trends in Oslo, both amongst inhabitants and the municipal entities and within the business community. The Agency for Urban Environment has received funding from the Klimasats grant scheme to continue some of this work beyond 2021.

In order to analyse indirect GHG emissions from road transport, the project is using a consumer-based model as a starting point. This model is based on the number of kilometres driven per year by all types of vehicles registered in Oslo and journeys made by persons resident in the municipality. The preliminary findings show that journeys made by the inhabitants account for by far the largest contribution both to the number of vehicle kilometres driven and to indirect emissions, followed by transport within the business community. The results indicate a modest increase in travel amongst the City of Oslo’s own employees, while use of the municipality’s own vehicles has decreased somewhat. The number of vehicle-kilometres rose slightly for both Oslo residents and the business community in the municipality during the period 2017-2019. The results also indicate that the increase in the use of electric cars as a substitute for petrol and diesel cars, the transition to biofuels such as biogas and the increase in the use of public transport services resulted in a reduction in indirect emissions during the period.

In order to assess a trajectory towards more sustainable and reduced food consumption, the quantity of food purchased by the City of Oslo is being analysed as an indicator of food consumption. Preliminary findings indicate that the consumption of fish, chocolate and sugar/artificial sweeteners, edible oils and fats, grain and legume products and fresh vegetables rose significantly during the period 2017-2019. Meat consumption also increased slightly during the period, while the consumption of fresh fruit and frozen and canned vegetables fell. The preliminary calculations indicate that this resulted in a slight increase in total indirect emissions from food, while the weight of purchased food decreased.  This suggests that more food with a higher indirect discharge per kilogram was purchased in 2019 compared with 2017.


Climate requirements in procurements
Targeted and systematic work relating to the imposition of climate requirements in procurements which impact on indirect emissions is a new and wide-ranging priority area. In 2018, AsplanViak analysed the climate footprint of the City of Oslo’s own operations with a focus on the joint procurement agreements dating from 2016. The analysis showed that the majority of the climate footprint from the municipality’s activities originates from the purchase of goods and services, and that the joint procurement agreements account for just under 10 % of the total climate footprint of the municipal entities. A number of processes have been initiated to reduce emissions resulting from the municipality’s procurements. The municipality has developed a guide for reduced and smarter use of plastic in procurements, along with a guide to the circular economy in procurements. The latter explains how the municipal entities can contribute to sustainable and reduced consumption through measures such as prioritising reuse, repair and upgrading over new purchases. The municipality is also aware that additional measures may be appropriate in order to reduce indirect emissions linked to transport under goods and services contracts, and will therefore consider the imposition of requirements across more of the transport chain. Indirect emissions from the municipality’s own vehicle and machinery fleet can be reduced if businesses share machinery and vehicles both internally and with each other, as well as through the procurement of sharing services where possible. The Agency for Improvement and Development is assessing this in more detail.


Targets for reduced emissions from construction materials
Emissions associated with the production and handling of construction materials are amongst the largest sources of emissions outside Oslo’s boundaries, both from the City of Oslo’s operations and from across the city as a whole. Reducing such emissions will be important in meeting the goal of the Climate Strategy that Oslo’s contributions to GHG emissions outside the municipality will be significantly lower in 2030 than in 2020, and «The City Government shall» point: «By 2021, we shall set a quantified target for reductions in consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions from municipal construction projects».

As mentioned previously, the City Government is now working to set an ambitious target to reduce GHG emissions from the use of materials by its own entities. This work is viewed in light of the goals of the C40’s Clean Construction Declaration, which the City of Oslo has endorsed. A digital tool will be developed for use in connection with life-cycle calculations in building and construction procurements. This will be important in the planning, comparison, follow-up and reporting of indirect emissions in building and construction projects. Standard specifications of requirements for purpose-built buildings will also be developed to meet strict climate and environmental requirements for the municipality’s buildings.


Dramatically Reducing Embodied Carbon
Through the Carbon Neutral Cities Alliance (CNCA), the City of Oslo is participating in the Dramatically Reducing Embodied Carbon project, which aims to develop a framework for cities seeking to reduce their consumption-based emissions within building and construction projects, infrastructure and urban development. The aim is to examine the instruments that cities or municipalities have at their disposal to influence indirect emissions from this sector, e.g. through requirements, administrative decisions and regulations. Through the project, the City of Oslo will receive feedback on which potential measures and instruments will be most effective in reducing these emissions.


The City of Oslo has endorsed the international “Call for Action on Forests and Climate” concerning the conservation of forests and sustainable forest management. The municipality is in dialogue with Cities4Forests regarding regulations concerning the purchase of timber from sustainable logging in order to avoid products which have caused tropical deforestation. Many measures under the auspices of Cities4Forests are being assessed.


Sustainable food
Food generates large quantities of indirect emissions. The City of Oslo aims to significantly reduce meat consumption in the municipality’s canteens and institutions, while at the same time facilitating a more plant-based diet. The key guidelines are set out in the City Government Declaration 2019-2023, the strategy for sustainable and reduced consumption 2019-2023 and the Climate Strategy for Oslo towards 2030. The City Government is working to halve food waste per capita by 2030. Meat consumption will be halved by 2023, and the proportion of fruit, vegetables, legumes and seasonal goods will be increased amongst municipal entities. The indicator project for reduced and sustainable consumption and consumption-based GHG emissions will provide important information about trends in food consumption in Oslo. The Agency for Improvement and Development, the Agency for Urban Environment and the Nursing Home Agency have all been allocated funding from the Klimasats grant scheme for work relating to sustainable food and the reduction of food waste. The Agency for Improvement and Development will be the municipality’s driving force, coordinator and facilitator in the efforts being made to promote healthy and sustainable food. One measure will be to establish a sharing platform for climate-friendly menus in the municipality. UKE will also work to ensure that the municipality’s joint procurement agreements support the City Government’s ambitions and goals in this area, as well as help other businesses within the municipality to use procurement strategically to reduce meat consumption and promote plant-based diets.

The work relating to sustainable food also forms part of the municipality’s work concerning urban agriculture, plastics and marine littering, as well as that relating to environmental management and Eco-Lighthouse certification within the municipality. The Agency for Urban Environment is contributing to guidance for use by municipal service centres in the transition to sustainable and healthy food with reduced food waste, partly through the Horizon2020 project FUSILLI: “Fostering the Urban Food System Transformation Through Innovative Living Labs Implementation”. Together with eleven other cities, the City of Oslo will look at solutions for sustainable food and establish a «living laboratory» to test solutions. The municipality is also participating in the C40 Food Systems Network, which has collectively created the «Good Food Cities Declaration».