Uppsala – the best climate city in Sweden
Uppsala Municipality is the national winner in WWF:s international One Planet City Challenge 2020, which makes Uppsala finalists in the global city challenge. The last time, in 2018, Uppsala won both the national and global city challenge.
Uppsala Shows the Way to a Sustainable Future
There is a strong drive in Uppsala's climate work. Our vision is to be a "fossil fuel free welfare city contributing solutions for global ecological recovery and prosperity".
Fossil Fuel Free 2030 – Climate Positive 2050
The plan for reaching our goals is outlined in the Environmental and Climate Programme . Below is a condensed version of Uppsala's goals and milestones from the programme.
Uppsala has two long term climate goals – to be fossil fuel free by 2030 with renewable energy and climate positive by 2050. To reach these levels we are investing in renewable fuels and set ambitious goals in our Environment and Climate Programme and Energy Programme 2050.
In the chart below you can see that Uppsala's emissions of greenhouse gases have gone down since 1990. The chart also shows target levels according to the long term targets.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Uppsala
The total emissions of greenhouse gases shall:
- by the year 2020 have decreased by about 30 %
- by the year 2040 be close to zero, i.e. have decreased by about 90 %
- by the year 2050 have decreased with more than 100 %
- by the year 2070 have decreased with about 110 %
Now at the target year 2020 we are evaluating if the set target level will be reached. So far we only have partial data for 2019. An important contribution is the ongoing shift to produce heat from renewable raw material instead of peat and fossil oil, in the city's district heating production facility operated by Vattenfall. However, long-distance traveling by Uppsala citizens has shown a tendency to continuously increase. The goal is dependent on keeping long-distance travel at a steady level.
To reach the target 2030 the next major shift to make is to decarbonize the transportation sector. Parallell to that we are working to recycle and phase out fossil plastics, which otherwise is being burnt in the combined heat och and power plant for district heating.
Ten Milestones for a Better Climate
In our Environment and Climate Programme there are ten milestones, each with their own goals, to help us concretize the climate work and make action plans. They shall act as a driving force for a rapid development into a sustainable society and in the long run make it possible to reach Uppsala's long term climate goals.
1. Uppsala and Uppsala Municipality's heating comes from renewable energy sources or is produced climate neutral/is climate compensated by 2020.
2. By 2020 about 30 MW solar energy effect has been installed, and about 100 MW by 2030.
3. The city's own light duty vehicles are fossil fuel free by 2020, the heavy duty vehicle fleet and off-road machinery and procured transportations are fossil fuel free or climate-neutral no later than 2023.
4. The goal for city boards and committees is to reach an increased energy efficiency corresponding to at least a 25% reduction by 2020 with base year 2014. The total amount of the city organisation's direct energy use in absolute numbers must at most be unchanged in 2020 compared to 2014.
5. By 2020, all procurement of goods, services and contracting shall follow the advanced requirements of the National Agency for Public Procurement or similar, with focus on reduction, substitution or phase-out of environmentally hazardous or health-threatening substances.
6. Organically produced food in operations funded by Uppsala Municipality amounts to 100% by 2023.
7. Uppsala Municipality's work to promote toxin-free, resource and energy-smart buildings and building maintenance has made Uppsala one of the leading municipalities in Sweden regarding sustainable construction by 2020.
8. By 2023, Uppsala Municipality is one of the best municipalities in Sweden in environmentally and climate driven business and operations development, through efficient collaboration between local businesses and the community.
9. When acquiring new products containing plastic, the plastic shall come solely from recycled or renewable raw materials by 2030. The goal applies both to the municipality's own purchasing and to the procurement of operations.
10. In town planning projects with land allocation and in the city's own production, half of the completed structural volume shall be of wood by the end of 2030, and climate impact from concrete shall be at least 50% lower by 2030 compared to 2017. In addition, the concrete shall be climate-neutral by 2030.
Energy Programme 2050
A crucial part in reaching climate goals is the transition to a new energy system. Therefore, Uppsala Municipality developed an energy program in 2018 to show how the municipality and other stakeholders together can achieve an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable energy system.
The programme is based on Uppsala Municipality's targets for resource efficiency, health, environment and climate, countryside and city development, more jobs and environmentally-friendly business development, civil preparedness, and the strengthening of ecosystems. The energy programme is a cornerstone in making Uppsala fossil fuel free and renewable by 2030 and climate positive by 2050.
Projects and Investments
Uppsala is growing rapidly. It is a challenge to grow and at the same time reduce emissions and climate impact. But building new areas also provides opportunities to create better conditions and solve sustainability challenges. We have listed some examples of our climate work below.
Uppsala Climate Protocol
Uppsala Climate Protocol is a local network initiated by the municipality in which companies, associations, universities and public organizations work together and inspire each other and others to secure Uppsala's long-term energy and climate goals. The fourth programme period is running 2018-2021. We are celebrating 10 years of cooperation, and has gone from 17 to 40 members.
Uppsala municipality invited in early 2010 local actors from both the public and private sector to sign a "local Kyoto protocol". In the first programme period (2010-2012) 17 organizations signed the protocol, in the second programme period (2012-2015) there were 29 participants, in the third period (2015-2018) 33 participants, from a wide number of sectors. Today the protocol is an established and effective arena for climate action and cooperation in Uppsala, and the main gathering for developing ideas how to reach the city's long-term energy and climate goals. Each member sets energy and climate goals (in sectors buildings, transports, production and other) to reach a common goal for the programme period.
During the first period (2010-2012), the common goal was to decrease the members' greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 %. The outcome was a decrease of about 4 percent, while total turnover increased. During the subsequent programme period (2012-2015), the goal was to reduce our collective emissions by about 4.5 %. The result was a decrease of fully 11 %. For the third period, 2015-2018, the goal was to reduce emissions in total by 4,7 % in 2016-17. The results shows a twice as high reduction of 10 %. The continuously superior results from Uppsala Climate Protocol has showed that it is an effective collaboration for reaching climate goals.
Innovative New Neighbourhoods
Uppsala municipality wants to set a new standard for sustainable travel which will play an important part if the municipality's long-term climate and environmental goals are to be reached. Several major areas in Uppsala are under development to meet the expected population growth. For the new residential area, Ulleråker, a mobility action plan has been developed. Ulleråker will thus act as a forerunner and set a standard for how systematic mobility work should be carried out within Uppsala. The plan describes organization and working methods in the planning process to ensure systematic work with sustainable mobility throughout all the stages. It also explains how to monitor and evaluate goals and work processes. The plan will contribute to achieving Uppsala's ambitious goals, which, among other things, indicate that at least 80% of the inhabitant's trips will come about by walking, cycling or public transport.
Material choices in new buildings are made with regard to climate impact and reducing the negative environmental effect. A life-cycle perspective characterizes both the construction of houses and the design of public spaces. The starting point is choosing robust material of high quality and long life span. This reduces future operating costs and renovation needs.
In another new area, Rosendal, parks and green spaces are designed to provide ecosystem services: features that benefit humans and preserve and improve living conditions and well-being for plants and animals as well. Air to breathe, food, pollination, and other values that provide quality of life and health. The water in Rosendal is taken care of locally. This means that the water is delayed and cleaned in the area's natural waters, ponds, plants, rain beds and temporary flood zones. Water is supplied to trees and plant beds and also raised in open waterways to add natural beauty. The plan beds are enriched with bio-char, making them a carbon sink – a climate positive action.
Biking Before Driving
The Municipality of Uppsala has been focusing on cycling issues for several years. A few years ago a major analysis was carried out through focus group interviews with politicians, students, bicycle companies, bicycle dealers, major employers, etc. Also, a wide-ranging survey of residents was conducted. The result clearly showed that two areas were prioritized, namely information and communication on traffic rules and the extension of Uppsala's cycle infrastructure. In line with this, widespread efforts are ongoing, for example construction of more separate cycle paths/lanes and improvements in previously built cycling infrastructure.
Promotion and information on bicycling has made it easier to choose the bicycle as a first-hand transportation mode. This includes for example bicycling courses for both adults and children, traffic information, maps, safer bike paths to schools, and more.
An obstacle for many inhabitants whom usually enjoys biking is the Swedish winter. Biking in northern Europe is not always easy and comfortable in the winter due to the snow, icy roads and cold weather. There are however things one can do to make it safer and easier. To further encourage those who previously felt the need to use motorized transportation during the cold months the municipality started the project "Winter Cyclists". The project aims to both help individual bikers and making sure that biking lanes are safe and free from snow. Bike lanes are now the number one priority when removing snow and sanding. The bikers are also given equipment like studded tires and warm saddle covers to make it more safe and comfortable.
Uppsala Produces its Own Biogas
Since the end of the 1990s Uppsala has had its own production of biogas made from organic waste from households, restaurants and industries. Through the years, the operation has grown from producing about 100 000 Nm3 biogas a year to today's production of more than 4 000 000 Nm3 a year. It is one of the world's leading facilities for producing biogas from organic waste and sewage. Apart from being a great energy alternative biogas makes an effective use of our waste in a circular economy.
The biogas plays an important part in Uppsala's path to a fossil fuel free community. The gas is also a better alternative to conventional fuels regarding air quality and pollution. It is therefore mainly used to fuel public buses in the city area. But is also sold to private car owners and taxi companies.
More projects and climate initiatives
Below is a link to our Swedish webpage with more examples.
If you have any questions, please contact Björn Sigurdson.
climate strategist, executive office
Phone: +46 18 727 12 04