Swedish STEP UP companion cities meet
STEP UP partner city Gothenburg hosted a two-day workshop with its companion cities Malmö, Borås (SE) and Bergen (NO) at the Visual arena Lindholmen in Gothenburg on the 10th and 11th of June 2014. On the first day of the meeting Gothenburg presented its Climate Program and shared their experience of developing the Program together with projects such as the Gothenburg congestion charge. Representatives from the other cities also presented the status of their climate and energy plans. A second meeting between the cities will be held in the autumn of 2014, with focus on how to construct development- and innovative projects out of energy planning. Some of the outcomes of the meeting are described below:
Gothenburg congestion charge
The congestion charge is a part of the West Swedish Agreement - a series of transport infrastructure initiatives (for trains, buses, trams, bicycles and cars) extending to 2027. As a result of the congestion charge travelling by public transport has increased by 10% in 2013 compared to 2012. The largest increase is in express bus journeys that have increased by 21% during the year. The total traffic volume in the Gothenburg region, in terms of the number of kilometers travelled decreased by 2.5% between the years 2012 and 2013. Some of the conclusions from the Gothenburg congestion charge are that:
- The congestion charge has generally led to reduced traffic and reduced environmental impacts.
- Bicycle traffic increased by over 20%, measured by around 20 measuring points throughout the city.
- Revenues from the congestion charge will provide partial funding of the West Swedish Agreement.
To learn more about the West Swedish Agreement and the congestion follow these links:
Gothenburg’s Climate Program
The City of Gothenburg’s Climate program [see strategy section] aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a sustainable and equitable level by 2050 towards a target to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions per capita by approximately 75% by 2050. In the program, Gothenburg has looked at emissions within the city but also the emissions outside the city that are caused by the consumption of the citizens of Gothenburg. This so-called Life Cycle Assessment approach is endorsed by the Covenant of Mayors.
Borås is producing an energy and climate plan for the city, in parallel to the development of a new comprehensive plan. It involves development of sustainability criteria or indicators of sustainability for Borås and also includes scenarios and images of the future which will be included in both plans.
A large extension of the district heating network in the region contributed to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 60% by 1990 and energy efficiency of 30% from 1990. Borås have also reduced their oil heating of dwellings by 98% since 1990. In the Borås workshop the group made several recommendations, for instance to add more social issues and how the SEAP might impact the on the local economy.
Bergen’s climate target aims at a 50 % carbon emission reduction by the year 2030. Half the cars in Bergen are diesel cars, due to tax reductions on diesel cars. This has lowered the CO2 emissions, but at the same time, air quality in Bergen has significantly worsened. The biggest challenge for Bergen is therefore to solve traffic related problems. Public transport has been expanded and there are current projects for a main bike lanes network, but Bergen has a legacy of infrastructure built around the car. In the workshop, the participants carried out a problem tree analysis on transport which highlighted that the public transport offer is not good and infrastructure for cycling is also poor. The importance of scenarios was also emphasized to help citizens see a city of the future and think "yes, that looks like a good life".
By 2020 Malmö has a target to be climate neutral and by 2030 the whole city will be powered by 100% renewable energy. The entire municipality has a 20% reduction target for use of energy by 2020, but the city of Malmö’s target is a reduction of at least 30% by 2020. The main challenge for the city is to reduce the energy consumption during the coming decades at the same time as the population is growing. In the Malmö workshop, one group focused on locally produced electricity, which linked to the production of wind energy. Another group focused on how the emissions from the Öresund CHP power plant can be accounted for. The plant feeds other cities and municipalities outside Malmö, and the question is how should emissions be accounted for locally, regionally or globally?