Oslo takes bold steps to reduce air pollution, improve livability

Norway Oslo pedestrians bicycles opera

Source: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/oslo-takes-bold-steps-reduce-air-pollution-improve-livability 

Norway’s capital city Oslo, home to over 670,000 people, is boldly pushing forward with a range of measures to improve air quality for the city’s inhabitants. Oslo is one of 42 cities who take part in Breathe Life, a campaign led by the World Health Organization, UN Environment and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition that inspires cities and individuals to protect our health and planet from the effects of air pollution.

Zero-emission vehicles play a key part in the city’s strategy to reduce C0equivalents by 95 per cent in 2030, and city officials are encouraging people to make the transition to electric vehicles. Benefits for drivers include reduces taxes, access to bus and taxi lanes, free travel on toll roads and public ferries, and free municipal parking. Over 1,000 charging stations have been added in recent years.

Meanwhile, all public transport in Oslo and neighbouring Akershus county is to be powered exclusively by renewable energy by 2020.

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THE FIVE PERCENT CHALLENGE, COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING (In brief)

FB 5 percent Start now

 * * Working draft for peer review and comment of 17 July 2019

The basic concept is simple in principle, namely: to identify and put to work a strategic package of proven, street-tested, cost-effective measures, tools and means  to reduce GHG emissions from the mobility sector in a cooperating city or place by a targeted five percent (or better) in a year or less. Realization of the concept on the other hand is highly demanding and requires considerable technical competence, abundant political savvy and leadership by daily example.

The underlying goal is highly ambitious, and perhaps not immediately evident.  It is about people and choices, and not so much about infrastructure or vehicles.  We are talking here about influencing behaviour of individuals and groups in this specific part of their day to day lives. Since indeed the only way that we can successfully make this critical transition in a functioning democracy — is no less than to change behaviour by creating a transformed urban (or rural, or other demographic) ecosystem of  connected realities, time, space, perceptions, awarenesses, values, fears, prejudices, habits and, hopefully in parallel with this an wide array of “better than car” or  at least satisficing mobility choices.  The key to all this being to offer what are perceived as better choices for all when it comes to daily life, climate, mobility, environment  and democracy impacts.  The challenge we now face is to accompany this transition, and this in the teeth of a rapidly degrading environment and still a largely skeptical world.

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