In 2017, the City of Oslo pioneered a game-changing approach to fighting climate change: the carbon budget. The budget sets a cap on how much the city can emit before 2030, when Oslo plans to become carbon neutral, and divides that amount into annual budgets. The City’s finance department considers the budget alongside its finances when making decisions. The City describes it as the “most important management tool” for achieving its ambitious goal of net-zero emissions by 2030. We couldn’t agree more. Read more
Last week, Edmonton city council passed a historic plan—the first in Canada to incorporate a carbon budget limiting how many greenhouse gas emissions the city can emit.
SSG helped crunch the numbers behind the ground-breaking carbon budget and we hope Edmonton will be the first of many Canadian municipalities to take this step. Read more
The City of Oslo has embedded emissions reductions deeply into the mechanics of municipal operations. The Vice-Mayor of Oslo discussed her City’s carbon budget, which parallels the City’s financial budget. Departments are assigned responsibilities and are required to implement those responsibilities in order to achieve their targets of cutting emissions in half over 1990 levels by 2020 and becoming completely carbon neutral by 2030. This mechanism relies on the strongest tool the city has – the city budget process – and brings a new transparency to greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions planning, with an annual reporting process. Read more
The day started with the sun beaming in through a wall of glass looking out over Edmonton’s North Saskatchewan River. The discourse on cities was hopeful- tinged with periods of critical thought and realism. Presenters, including the Mayor of Edmonton, Don Iveson, talked about the need to track consumption-based GHG emissions; but the mechanisms that cities require to influence consumption of their citizens are both politically and legally limited. Many speakers talked about green jobs and low-carbon cities as engines of economic growth and development, while others reflected that economic development itself is the source of GHG emissions. Irrespective of the pathway forward, there is no question that the role of local governments and cities is gaining prominence and an increasing focus of UN agencies and other entities in the world; if cities can’t dramatically bend the curve, then there is no way that the world will achieve the necessary reductions of 1.5 degrees. Mayor Iveson emphasised this point with a story about UNFCCC COP 13 in indonesia; as a deputy mayor his option was to represent a non-profit organisation at a side event of a side event. Luckily, times have changed: urban areas are now a primary focus with an IPCC focussed conference on cities. Read more