Climate Change

Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm to cut fossil fuel use in construction

Bringing changes to the construction industry can help decrease emissions 44% by 2050, according to a report by C40 Cities

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 08 October 2019
Photo: Getty Images

The mayors of Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm have on October 8, 2019, pledged to cut down the use of fossil fuels in building infrastructure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from construction sites, according to C40 Cities —  a global climate leadership group comprising 94 cities around the world.

The decision, aimed to address the ongoing climate crisis and improve public health, comes ahead of the four-day C40 World Mayors Summit 2019 to be held in Denmark, beginning October 9.

The mayors commited to buying biofuels and emission free machinery and demand fossil-and emission free solutions in public procurement and city supported projects.

By 2025, all city-owned machinery and construction sites, in Oslo, whether municipal or own, will operate with zero emissions. Copenhagen will use fossil-free fuels in its own non-road mobile machinery, as detailed in the roadmap 2017-2020.

Stockholm, on the other hand, aims to be fossil-fuel-free and climate positive by 2040. It has developed a life-cycle analysis tool that will evaluate building materials, machinery as well the construction processes from a climate point of view, according to C40 Cities. 

“The world’s cities are growing fast, with an area the size of Milan being built every week. It may be a boom time for builders but the construction industry is a major contributor to the climate crisis,” said Mark Watts, executive director of C40 Cities.

“The mayors of Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm recognise that without urgent action to cut emissions generated in the construction of buildings and infrastructure, there is no chance of delivering on the Paris Agreement and preventing catastrophic climate change,” he added. 

Bringing changes to the construction industry can help decrease emissions generated from buildings and infrastructure 44 per cent by mid-century, according to a report by C40 Cities, Arup and University of Leeds published on October 8.

According to the report, action in 6 key areas can help reduce the climate impact of construction:

  • Implementing efficiency in material design
  • Enhancing existing building utilisation
  • Switching to sustainable timber from high-emission materials
  • Using low-carbon cement
  • Reusing building materials and components
  • Using low, or zero-emission construction machinery

Besides reducing GHG emissions, clean construction can also cut down air and noise pollution, provide health benefits for citizens and the environment; and even open opportunities for new jobs and skills within the construction economy, the report showed.

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