Climate and Energy Strategy for Oslo

City, Country

Oslo, Norway

Initiative/ policy

Climate and Energy Strategy for Oslo (Oslo Kommune 2016) is the City's initiative to reduce the overall emissions and the need for fossil based energy. The Strategy sets a roadmap that outlines how the green shift should be implemented in order to achieve Oslo's climate targets to reduce 50% of greenhouse emissions by 2020 and to reach the level of 95% by 2030. Within this broader initiative, the City is currently developing a new strategy on Waste Management and another strategy on reduced material consumption, to support its ambition to be an international leader in waste prevention, reuse and recycling.

Initiative's relationship to REFLOW

  • Co-creation design & framework

  • Technical infrastructure & software

  • Creating & managing circular flows

  • Collaborative governance & urban strategies

  • Capacity building

  • Communication

Period of implementation

2016 - ongoing


City level

Core vision

The Oslo Climate and Energy Strategy has been developed in alignment with the City’s Municipal Master Plan "Oslo towards 2030: Smart, safe and green”, which is the municipal government’s overarching strategy for future development in the city.

The Climate and Energy Strategy states that ‘the City of Oslo shall have a regional perspective in its long-term plans for treatment of waste and wastewater and strive to achieve zero discharge from energy recovery from residual waste by increasing recycling”. Besides the focus on behavioral change, the successful integrated waste management system is based on a legacy waste collection system through the innovative use of technologies. Furthermore, the European Commission awarded Oslo the European Green Capital title for 2019.

As a part of a long-term vision, the city of Oslo introduced the first-of-its-kind European Climate Budget (Oslo Kommune 2019), which has two main functions:

  • to show whether the existing measures to reach climate targets are sufficient;

  • to impose an obligation on all municipal bodies to submit regular status reports on the climate measures for which they are responsible.

Finally, the current city government has also launched a new political platform stating that the city should develop a separate strategy on Circular Economy

Implementation and governance

The Climate and Energy Strategy builds on 16 initiatives addressing four main subject areas:

  • Urban development and transport;

  • Buildings;

  • Resource utilization;

  • Climate governance.

Within the Energy Strategy the engagement of citizens at a micro-level represents a crucial aspect to reduce consumption in households and for this reason the communication process is fundamental to increase awareness within the citizens. This takes place formally and informally through announcement platforms, such as European Green Capital 2019 and Oslo Kommune.

Besides the recycling strategies, the Strategy includes additional incentives to increase citizen awareness:

  • Mini-recycling stations. Due to the low percentage of cars, small recycling stations are located in several central boroughs and easily accessible by public transport or walking. The concept of the small recycling stations is based on resource hubs with a special emphasis on social aspects, where the focus is on re-use, training session and repair workshops. It represents a small incubator for circular economy.

  • Small kiosks around the city of Oslo to encourage re-use and share things;

  • Green Friday (in return to Black Friday). Aiming to reduce consumption in private households, avoid waste production and promote citizens engagement, Green Fridays are supported by apps to share food, co-working spaces, organize repair workshops.

  • Education for waste management is crucial to promote the vision of consumption reduction. Schools, universities and other educational organizations are offering classes on avoiding waste in private households and everyday life.

About the governance process, the Climate and Energy Strategy has been developed in dialogue with and involvement of 40 organisations from the City of Oslo, the business community and state-owned enterprises. This involvement process has mainly been undertaken in five sector groups: Transport, Energy, Buildings, Resource Utilisation and Cross-Sectoral Energy Issues. The Norwegian Institute for Energy Technology and Oslo Renewable Energy and Environment Cluster have contributed with technical advice and modelling tools (TIMES NORWAY) for the strategy development. An important element of the work involved identifying expected changes in technology and framework conditions. Moreover, in order to frequently assess GHG emissions in Oslo, a set of indicators collectively known as the Oslo Climate Barometer have been developed, which is publicly accessible and gives early notice of positive and negative trends, indicating the extent to which measures and instruments are achieving their intended effects. The Climate Barometer also forms the basis of the City Government’s ordinary reporting to the City Council.

Oslo’s Climate Budget supports to measure the impact of the Climate Strategy, asking all the agencies within the city administration to report on CO2 emissions. Although the Climate Budget 2019 is Oslo’s third climate budget, it remains a pioneering project. The Climate Agency has been established as a strong new specialist entity within the City of Oslo: it plays a central role by supplying the analytical basis for the preparation of the city’s Climate Budgets and by advising on, and actively encouraging, the implementation of climate measures. The introduction of climate budgets represents a key instrument in ensuring that all the City of Oslo's agencies assume responsibility for climate initiatives. Furthermore, international projects and partnerships on Circular Economy and the URBACT initiative help the City of Oslo to constantly define a testing ground for strategies and initiatives. Moreover, Oslo is leading the EU Urban Agenda Thematic Partnership for the Circular Economy (UAPCE). This will create the ground to identify new actions and collaboration projects that will contribute to accomplish the vision of Oslo to become internationally leading in its work with waste prevention, re-use and recycling.

Results, impacts and learnings

Oslo has made significant progress in a number of areas. Greenhouse gas emissions per capita are falling, and the number of people travelling by public transport, cycle and on foot is rising – at the expense of car traffic. Statistics show that Oslo’s total GHG emissions fell by nearly 14% between 2009 and 2016. From 2015 to 2016, Oslo’s emissions fell by 8%. The reasons for this change include measures and instruments that are encouraging a move towards fossil-free transport, together with the impending ban on fossil oil-based heating. The statistics also show a significant decline in emissions from non-road mobile machinery (which in the case of Oslo relates mainly to the volume of sales of diesel fuel for construction machinery). In 2017, the public transport company Ruter recorded its largest annual increase in passenger numbers, ever. Passenger journeys increased by 5.9% in the total area served by Ruter and by 6.1% in Oslo. There is a high level of satisfaction with public transport services among Oslo’s population.

During the preparation of the Climate Budget 2018, it became clear that the assessments of the effects of implemented and planned measures did not provide adequate reassurance that attainment of the 2020 target was within reach. This prompted a decision to commission studies of four packages of measures with an aim to assess potential for achieving larger emissions cuts. Measures that could give significant emissions cuts by the end of 2020 were identified in two sectors in particular: the construction sector and the transport of goods and services. Several of these measures are included in the budget proposal for 2019. The level of expertise now present within the Climate Agency has therefore improved the municipality’s ability to assess and control the individual measures in the Climate Budget.


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