Reykjavík and Climate

In Reykjavík all electricity is produced with hydroelectric power and houses are geothermally heated, energy usage in district heating releases no greenhouse gases. The release of greenhouse gasses in Reykjavík is minor compared with international figures, or 2,8 CO2 tons per person in the year 2013. Transport is the main source for green house gas emissions and is our largest challenge. In our Municipal Plan 2010-2030 the goal is to change travel modes so public transport will rise from 4% to 12% and the ratio of pedestrians and cyclists should rise from 19% to over 30% in 2030.
 

Carbon neutral by 2040

Reykjavík was the first municipality in Iceland to make a policy on reduction on green house gas emissions in 2009. In 2016 the City Council decided to go further and make even more ambitious goals: Reykjavík City will be carbon neutral by 2040.

Our action plan

 
 
  • Reykjavík Pond Bridge
    Reykjavík Pond Bridge

City of Reykjavík’s Climate Policy

Reykjavík aims to become carbon-neutral before the year 2040 and will adjust to climate change in a humane and eco-friendly fashion. The action plan will be reviewed in 2020 and every five years after that in accordance with the Paris Agreement of 2015. The results will be evaluated every two years through a comparison of the situation as it stood in 2015.

Societal Measures Until 2020

Transport and Energy Use

  • By 2030 the ratio of automobile traffic will have become 58%, public transport will be at 12% and walking and cycling traffic will be at 30% – all in accordance with the goals of the City of Reykjavík District Plan and the city's increase in public transport and cycling initiatives.
  • By 2040 emissions from automotive traffic and public transport will be free of green house gases.
  • The City of Reykjavík will put in place initiatives for strengthening public transport through the use of light railways or a bus rapid transit system – a so-called Public Transportation Corridor  – in conjunction with the other municipalities within the capital region and the Department for Transport.
  • In co-operation with Reykjavík Energy support will be put behind energy exchanges in transport and an increased ratio of electricity-powered modes of transport. This will be achieved by, among other things:
      - Make  charging stations available in the city's parking garages.
      - Introducing charging stations outside selected municipal buildings for the use of guests and staff.
      - The City of Reykjavík working with Reykjavík Energy to garner ideas for introducing charging stations within the city's districts.
      - Putting forth a plan of action detailing how city buses and the prospective Public Transportation Corridor can be entirely powered by energy sources free from green house gas emissions.
      - Examining the code of conduct regulating the city and its businesses in order to dispel obstacles against electric transport and ease its implementation.
  • City of Reykjavík aims to reduce transport needs while putting an emphasis on on line  services for individuals, families and businesses. Priority will be given to either bringing the availability of leisure activities and other on line services as close to users' domiciles as possible, or by making sure they are easily accessible within each city district through the use of eco-friendly modes of transport by choosing their location as well as the arrangement of public transport and by creating to a city-wide district plan.
  • A plan will be put into action for reducing traffic and shortening distances when it comes to the transport of construction materials. An increase in sea transport is one possibility. For these purposes an environmental evaluation will be put together on the possibility of further quarrying and extracting of minerals in Geldinganes.
  • The aim is to make electrical charging for ships and vessels available at Faxaflóahafnir (Associated Icelandic Ports). For this the co-operation of other governments, energy sale companies and other harbours will be sought after.
  • Implementing Smart city solutions  of buildings and city infrastructures in order to implement energy savings and reduce resource waste, this will be done in co-operation with Félagsbústaðir (Reykjavík Social Hosting) and other stakeholders.

Land Use

  • 90% of all new residental units will be inside the current urban area borders to increase the close-proximity of public services and to reduce travel needs.
  • A plan will be put into action and incentives found for the reducing of petrol stations. The goal will be that fossilised fuel pumps will be reduced by 50% within city limits by 2030 and will be all but extinct by 2040.
  • A survey will be conducted in co-operation with Reykjavík Energy (Orkuveita Reykjavíkur) to explore the possibility of introducing a wind turbine farm within city limits.
  • Before the end of 2016 the mapping of possible carbon capturing through forestry and reclaimed wetlands will be completed.
  • A forestry plan will be developed for Geldinganes and Kjalarnes in order to, among other things, increase wind shielding and work towards a future vision for organising and utilising the area. There, schools, government institutes and city businesses will be designated areas to reforest in order to offset the carbon emission of their operations.

Public Awakening

  • Key emphasis will be put upon diminishing emissions and reducing waste by the continued co-operation of City of Reykjavík with businesses and economic life. Participants in the City of Reykjavík and Festa’s Declaration for Climate Change should be at least 200 by the year 2020 and should include the majority of economic life within the city.
  • A project to reduce food waste will be put into action in relation to The European Week for Waste Reduction in 2016.
  • A website will be created to increase general knowledge of how the release of green house gases can be reduced and how homes can be made carbon-neutral.
  • In constructing an overall food policy a chaptered plan will be put forth before the end of 2017 to boost local food culture, food production and the growing of edibles.

Matters of Waste

  • Waste categories at local recycling centres will multiply during the time span allocated in accordance with the action plan on waste matters.
  • Citizens will receive information on domestic compost and be encouraged to start their own compost.
  • The construction of an anerobic concestion plant will be finished in 2018.
  • In 2019, once the anerobic concestion plant has risen, the collection of biological waste will commence.

Measures for Climate Change Adaptation

  • Major risk factors, including areas prone to flooding, will be introduced into the district plan and a plan formed for necessary counter measures.
  • Introduce blue-green solutionsand prepare for the use of nature based solutions and technical solutions in flood prevention.

Measurements

  • Total of greenhouse gases released within Reykjavík city limits.
  • Total of carbon sequestration within city limits.

Climate Policy for municipal operations of Reykjavík City

City of Reykjavík's goal is that the operations of the city will become carbon-neutral by the year 2040. The action plan will be reviewed in 2020 and every five years after that in accordance with the Paris Agreement of 2015. Results will be measured annually.
 

Operational actions until 2020

  • A green emphasis will be not optional but mandated in all of the city's operations. All of City of Reykjavík’s businesses and departments will take part in the city's Green Steps project no later than the end of 2016.
  • By 2025 a 100% of City of Reykjavík’s vehicles will be powered by energies free of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • A process will be implemented to support carbon-neutral purchasing.
  • The documenting of travel allowances will be amended in such a way as to include the registration of airplane emissions.
  • A new project will be introduced as a subsidiary of Green Steps making instructions on how workplaces can become carbon-neutral and/or reduce their waste production.
  • A specific climate policy will be put into action for primary schools and kindergartens that includes children and teens actively participating in operations, calculations and follow ups.
  • The way Reykjavik´s employees commutes to and from work will be researched  through an annual commute survey, in the first time in 2017.
  • Before 2018 all full-time employees of City of Reykjavik will have the chance of signing a transport contract and receiving payment for commuting to work using eco-friendly and cost-efficient means of transport.
  • From 2017 and onwards Green Accounting will document and calculate the use of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gases as well as energy use and waste production in the running of Reykjavik City, with the results being published annually on the Green Steps website.

Measurements

  • Total release of greenhouse gases due to the use of fossil fuel and due to car travel
  • Total release of greenhouse gases due to employees' work related air travel.
     

International climate commitments

Reykjavík has many international connections and obligations regarding sustainability and climate change. Reykjavík is a part of ICLEI which is a network of sustainable cities, operating worldwide. Regarding Climate issues, Reykjavík City has been a part of Covenant of Mayors since 2011. When Covenant of Mayors offered a new program in 2014, Mayors Adapt it was very much appreciated and the City Council decided quickly to be a part of it and was actually one of the first cities to participate.  Reykjavík City did also become a part of Compact of Mayors in 2015. 
We have also been working with Nordic capitals and making a joint declaration on fighting climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions beyond national targets.  

Climate by numbers

 
 

Climate and business

Reykjavík City and Festa

 
Reykjavík City and Festa - Icelandic Center for Corporate Social Responsibility a non-profit organization are co-working on  inviting companies to make a declaration on making goals on less carbon emissions. 
 
In the next five fiscal years the budget for green investment, which is investment in green infrastructure such as bicycle roads, investment in green areas and waste collection is about 25% of all the investments of Reykjavík City (Only available in Icelandic:http://reykjavik.is/sites/default/files/graenn_hagvoxtur_skyrsla.pdf).
 

Climate and people

Geothermal heat

In Reykjavík all electricity is produced with hydroelectric power and houses are geothermally heated, energy usage in district heating releases no greenhouse gasses. The geothermal heat is used in our swimming pools all year round and for melting snow on walking paths in the wintertime. 


Transport modes

Transport is the main source for greenhouse gas emissions and is our largest challenge. In our Municipal Master Plan 2010-2030 the goal is to change travel modes so public transport will rise from 4% to 12% and the ratio of pedestrians and cyclists should rise from 19% to over 30% in 2030. The goal is to strengthen the infrastructure towards more cycling, pedestrians and public transport.


Environmental education

Reykjavík has various projects on environmental education, both towards our teachers in schools and kindergartens but also in general to the public through our botanic garden and our biodiversity program “Reykjavík – breeming  with life”


Meanwhile Projects

Reykjavík Meanwhile projects is a project which has been going on since 2008. The Reykjavík Meanwhile Project and Summer Streets are projects run by Reykjavík City for the past three years. Streets, parking lots and undeveloped areas are transformed into temporary public places. This achieves better conditions for pedestrians and cyclists and the principle of the project is “A city for its people” which is an important part of the Reykjavík Master Plan. These projects will be continued in coming years with the aim of developing these areas still further for the inhabitants to enjoy in lively outdoor activities. 

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