On November 13, Oslo joined the global BreatheLife network, as the newest city to declare support in the campaign for cleaner air. The city of about 670,000 aspires to an ambitious set of air quality standards, targeting stricter limits than those established by the country of Norway — which are already stricter in some areas than those prescribed by the European Union.
Established in the Climate and Clean Energy Strategy adopted in June 2016, Oslo’s air quality goals include the following:
50 percent reduction in CO2 equivalents by 2020 (as compared to the baseline year of 1990)
95 percent reduction in CO2 equivalents by 2030
60 percent reduction in NOX by 2022
PM10 limited to 25 micrograms per cubic metre
PM2.5 limited to 15 micrograms per cubic metre
The first goal — 50 percent reduction in CO2 equivalents by 2020 — is dependent on funding from the national government of Norway to implement full-scale carbon capture and storage technology at Oslo’s waste-to-energy plant. Because of some delays in this funding, it may be 2022 before the 50 percent reduction goal is reached.
A new air quality action plan is under way and should be completed by the end of the 2017.
To further accomplish these goals, Oslo is focusing on solutions with transport and household energy. Already the electric vehicle capital of the world, the city is looking at ways to strengthen public transport and reduce emissions. A toll system is raising money to build transport infrastructure, and pricing based on congestion and emissions is helping cut down traffic. Oslo is also working to reduce traffic by 20 percent from 2016 to 2019.
With frigid winter temperatures as the norm, Oslo is also coping with emissions from wood burning stoves. There are currently around 63,000 wood burning stoves in Oslo, and only about a third are clean burning stoves with low particle emissions. Oslo is offering financial incentives for consumers to replace the dirty stoves with clean ones.