We are an association with 32 member cities and 2 regions (Feb 2014), spread out over Sweden, with a concentration in the Southern half. In order to be a credible voice, we need quality in our members. So cities who want to join the association have to take a membership test to show the quality of their strategic climate work, and if they pass the test they can join. We have a political board with decision makers from twelve of our member cities, from most of the major political parties in Sweden. The office is situated in Lund, in the south of Sweden.
Some examples of activities: We organise networking meetings and technical meetings so that our members can exchange ideas with each other (politicians and civil servants) There is a lively mailing list, which the climate strategists in member cities use in between meetings to ask for practical tips on how to plan or implement different actions. We participate in the climate and energy debate in Sweden, and push for better actions both nationally and locally. We do this in several ways, for example: commenting on referrals and reports from the Swedish government meeting national politicians and investigators writing debate articles We want to help and inspire cities that aren’t members too, so we arrange seminars and conferences and have a lot of material on our website that any city can use, for example a process guide to help when making a climate and energy strategy We have contact with other similar organisations around Europe, and have recently joined Energy Cities. We are a supporting structure for the Covenant of Mayors
This is quite a typical picture of the emissions of a Swedish city last decade. The two big sources are energy (red) and transport (blue). Energy emissions has decreased but transport often shows a slight increase, even when the city has ambitious traffic climate work.
In Sweden most municipalities have their own energy companies, which makes for a good connection to the local climate and energy goals. Almost 600 cities have disctrict heating networks, so since the cities decided to start replacing the fossil fuels with renewables, and also finding sources of ”waste heat” the improvement has been steady. This has been made possible thanks to government subsidies that started in the late 90’s and are now finished. Energy efficiency has also played an important role – changing to better windows, insulation, smart lighting and so on. Many cities have building standards that have to be followed when building on public ground. The production of biogas is also a successful example of local action, many cities make biogas from waste water treatment plants and organic food waste. It still needs a bit more help from the national level to reach its full potential though. Biogas i beneficial in more ways than one becaus it brings a lot of positive effects for local enterprise and citizens, and also increases the self-dependency of the city.
Which factors make an action successful? Effective – Results can be seen quickly and are possible to measure Laws and support from the government, both financial and other, have been very important for the cities facing decisions about large investments. The actions are economically profitable, but have often required cooperation with private and public partners to make it work. The political courage, will, agreement and committment over time are other very important factors.
The municipalities can affect many things but not everything For example, they can only try to influence private companies and citizens The regulations for public procurement can be tricky when cities want to engage local enterprises Many cities face huge refurbishment needs in apartment buildings, which requires big investments. The possibilities to manage this depend on in which state the buildings are and how good the economy of the city is. There are ideas on how the government could stimulate this, by for example deciding on better loans for housing companies who decide to make good energy efficient refurbishments. Transports is perhaps the hardest part of the puzzle Traffic flows are increasing More investments in infrastructure are needed, but also mobility management (behavioural change). Hard work and takes a long time. Many want to invest in biogas because it has several positive effects on the local ecenomy and jobs, but this also requires big investments.
Clarity and a holistic approach The national level needs to coordinate decisions and signals so that municipalities and regions don’t get different signals from different authorities. Today the national level isn’t good enough at defending the long term sustainability when it comes to infrastructure and other exploitation of land Climate effects of political decisions need to be analyzed properly 2. Something has to be done at the national level to get energy efficiency actions past the low hanging fruits. These actions are not enough to reach the EU 2020 goals. Cities must be allowed to keep their energy standards for companies who want to build houses on public land. This is threatened by an initiative that was launched last year by the minister for housing. Also, the national building standards need to be sharper so that Sweden meets the nearly zero energy buildings directive. Todays national energy standards don’t really have any steering effect today, which is why the cities have their own standards. 4. Biogas needs clear signals. Fossil fuel free transport needs to be taken seriously by the government. There’s a need of a long term tax policy that benefits biogas production and other climate positive technologies. Possibly a bonus-malussystem, where the bad fuel pays for the good fuel. 5. Net metering of electricity, so that micro producers can exchange their own production for consumption.
A presentation from 2013
The Climate Municipalities
Networking, debate and support
What is ours to decide?
Retrofitting of buildings
What would help?
Long-term direction from the
Incentives for serious energy efficiency
action, past the low-hanging fruits!
Continuing with local building standards!
Incentives for biogas!
Net metering for minor energy
We’re on the right track…
…but we need to speed up!