City of Gothenburg’s Climate and Energy Strategy
The City of Gothenburg aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to a sustainable and equitable level by 2050. This means a target to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions per capita by approximately 75% by 2050. To achieve this goal, the city is developing a climate and energy strategy that outlines the necessary measures required to reduce our city wide carbon footprint. The proposed strategy – the Climate and Energy Strategy Draft – is now out to consultation in the city, including stakeholders in industry, government, and research institutions. The final programme will be decided by the City Council in 2014.
More than Energy
The Gothenburg Climate Strategy includes an energy plan that describes how the city’s energy should be supplied in a sustainable manner. All Swedish municipalities are required by law (Swedish Law (1977:439) to have an energy plan and Gothenburg’s most recent version was decided in 2005. The Climate Strategy however, extends beyond energy related issues and targets and takes a holistic approach on education, urban planning, transport and consumption as well as energy.
Work on the climate strategy began in the autumn of 2012 and has been driven by the Gothenburg Environment Department. It has involved ten departments and two universities, thirteen companies, one environmental organisation and many other organisations too. The strategy consists of a situational analysis, an energy balance, a vision, environmental targets, climate targets, strategies and a description of the process of involving stakeholders, the background and monitoring of the objectives.
The City of Gothenburg aims at being one of the most progressive cities in the world when it comes to addressing climate change problems. In addition to this, the city wants to show its citizens that it is possible to lead a good life without contributing to climate change. For the city’s part, this involves changing to renewable energy sources and reducing consumption of resource-intensive goods. The city can also create opportunities for the residents of Gothenburg to reduce their carbon footprint, for example by providing more efficient public transport and supporting climate friendly activities such as urban farming.
Phasing out Fossil Fuels
The Climate Strategy states that Gothenburg will phase out fossil fuels in district heating production, and that the city will investigate new climate-neutral solutions such as waste heat and heat storage. The targets are ambitious - by 2030 all district heating will be produced by renewable energy sources and waste heat from industry and waste incineration. Also, by 2030, Gothenburg will produce at least 500GWh renewable power and 1200 GWh biogas.
The creation of new fuel sources for district heating through a regional, comprehensive and efficient district heating system will help implement the strategy. The Gothenburg Energy Department will adapt the grid to be able to capture more excess heat.
During the consultation, activities to involve citizens are also taking place; among these are presentations and discussions of the climate strategy programme with representatives from the city, along with an open request for the public to send in their comments on the programme. The city will also have a specific focus on young people. For example, the Environment Department will participate in the “We_change-tour”, Sweden’s largest sustainable environment initiative for young people. At “We_change”, high school students will be able to give their views on the Climate strategy, as a form of consultation.
Meeting at the River House
On the 16th of January 2014, one of the presentations for the public took place at Älvrummet (the River House), a house dedicated to the development of the city of Gothenburg. The River House is used as a natural arena for debates in city development issues and exhibitions of proposals and plans.
At the meeting, Peter Krahl from the Department of Environment presented the strategy, followed by discussions with local politicians and questions from the audience. Section Manager Ann-Marie Ramnerö, from the Urban Environment Section at the Department of Environment commented –
- 'I am particularly proud of that the plan also includes consumption issues, unlike other Swedish municipalities that mostly focus on energy and transport issues in their energy action plans.'
The questions from the public mainly concerned traffic issues, commuting and air travel. There is an urgent need for expansion of commuter parking places, argued one audience member. Kia Andreasson, Chair of the Environment Board, agreed that more parking spaces have to be provided. By providing large car parks in a form of Park and Ride scheme near connecting hubs in the city outskirts, the city wants to encourage people to use their cars as little as possible. Instead of driving all the way to work, for instance, they can drive to the nearest hub, park there, and continue with public transport.
- 'Some intense work needs to be done here, not the least in the western parts of Gothenburg, and an expansion of commuter parking needs to be done very quickly to meet the needs.' said Kia Andreasson.