Norwegian towns commit to local climate action

Fifty authorities to share euros 860,000 for greenhouse emission reduction projects

Fifty of Norway's 448 local authorities are to draw up "local climate and energy action plans" aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Pollution Control Authority (SFT) has announced. The municipalities had until the end of March to register their interest and to apply for a share of the NKr7m (euros ) allocated by the government for the purpose.

"We are positively surprised at the interest and the numbers of applications that have come in," Tor Leite of the SFT told the Stavanger Aftenblad newspaper. "This shows that many municipalities have put climate issues on their agenda." While conceding that this year's budget allocation was "rather modest," Mr Leite said his department hoped for "new initiatives in connection with this year's autumn budget".

In the meantime, he added, the SFT had devised a computer program to help local and county authorities draw up appropriate action plans. The program is to be available on the Internet by the end of May.

Early indications are that many of the "action plans" are likely to involve district heating projects. In the southern city of Kristiansand, for example, a scheme combining industrial waste heat, biofuel and heat pumps is expected to generate up to 150 GWh by 2010. According to environmental director Øystein Holvik, this project alone could cut greenhouse gas emissions in Kristiansand by as much as 10%.

Follow Up:
SFT, tel: +47 22 57 34 00.

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