European cities to take tips from Oslo on cutting out plastic

Norwegian capital Oslo, considered a world leader for reducing plastics waste, is hosting a conference on pollution attended by representatives from 50 European cities.

European cities to take tips from Oslo on cutting out plastic
File photo: AFP

The 50 cities will learn about environmental initiatives tested in Oslo and sign a joint commitment to reduce pollution through plastics waste, media including Dagsavisen report.

Lan Marie Berg, of Oslo’s city environmental council, opened the Eurocities Environment Forum with representatives present from 50 cities across the continent.

Oslo is one of 19 international cities to have signed up to an agreement which obliges the cities to reduce plastic pollution and unnecessary use of disposable plastics.

Other cities to have signed that agreement include Milan, Porto, Copenhagen and Florence. These cities will pass on knowledge of the work they are doing during the three-day conference.

“Oslo is showing the way and has approved a plan of action against plastic pollution. We will be the first municipality in Norway to not use any single-use plastics,” Berg told Dagsavisen.

“I think it’s excellent that so many European cities want to take an active approach like we have in Oslo, even though many national authorities are yet to get this far,” she added.

Cities that sign the declaration at the end of the conference will be committing to developing plans of action to be completed with two years. These will introduce environmental alternatives to plastics and phase out unnecessary single-use plastics, as well as establish separate systems for plastic waste management.

“Oslo Municipality spends 27 billion kroner every year on goods and services. We must use our purchasing power to help the market for environmentally-friendly alternatives to plastic and to use products with more recycled plastic. When a large number of European cities work together for a common cause, we can change the market,” Berg said.

The city councillor has previously called for Oslo to implement standards for ‘plastic-free’ events, which would see the city regulate the use of public space and give subsidies to festivals and other activities based on reduced plastics use.

READ ALSO: World cities follow Oslo's example with 'budget' approach to emissions


Norway rules out 2022 oil licences in unexplored areas

Norway will not grant new oil exploration licences in virgin or little-explored areas in 2022 under a political compromise on Monday that hands a modest  victory to opponents of fossil fuels.

Norway rules out 2022 oil licences in unexplored areas
A photo taken on August 30, 2021 shows the Petroleum Museum in Stavanger, Norway, built to show the history of Norway's oil exploration. Norway is the largest producer of hydrocarbons in Western Europe. In the face of the climate emergency, voices are being raised to abandon fossil fuels for good. Petter BERNTSEN / AFP

The Scandinavian country’s governing centre-left coalition supports continuing oil and gas activities but does not have a parliamentary majority, making it reliant on socialist MPs who prioritise green issues.

As part of a compromise on the draft 2022 budget, three parties agreed on Monday that Norway — Western Europe’s largest hydrocarbon producer — would not hold a 26th so-called “ordinary” concession round next year.

This mechanism has allowed oil companies to apply for exploration in previously unexplored areas of the Norwegian continental shelf since 1965.

But the deal does not rule out awarding oil licences in already heavily exploited areas.

Since the North Sea has been extensively explored, the agreement mainly concerns the Barents Sea in the Arctic

The oil industry was a major issue in legislative elections in September, indicating Norway’s growing difficulties in reconciling environmental concerns with exploiting energy resources.

In the 25th concession round in early 2021, only seven oil companies, including Equinor, Shell and Lundin, applied — the lowest number since at least 1978 according to local media.