Image from www.wwf.se
“Uppsala emerges as the clear global winner in this year’s challenge due to its ambitious work including broad, cross-societal initiatives, strong regional leadership and a focus on knowledge transfer. Uppsala has ambitious, innovative and science-based targets for renewable energy, sustainable mobility and more. The jury particularly praised Uppsala’s investments in transport and infrastructure. Although Uppsala is a small city, the jury believes it serves as a global example.”
This is the citation of the international jury that named Uppsala the winner of the ‘One Planet City Challenge’ and the title ‘Global Climate City 2018’. The ‘One Planet City Challenge’ was launched by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2013. The earlier winners are Vancouver (2013), Cape Town (2014), Seoul (2015) and Paris (2016). This year,132 cities representing 23 countries participated in the challenge for a climate-resilient and sustainable future. Maria Gardfjell, municipal commissioner for climate and environment, expresses her delight and pride at winning the award.
“We are so excited and feel incredibly honoured to win this award. We have been working systematically for many years to raise the level of ambition and increase engagement within both the municipality’s own organisation and throughout Uppsala. We proudly share this award with the businesses, universities, associations and people of Uppsala that play a major part in Uppsala being so successful and now recognised far beyond the country’s borders,” she says to WWF.
Infrastructure for electric cars, efficient public transport and improved conditions for cyclists are top priorities for the municipality. Uppsala sees a future where local transport and energy use are fossil-free by 2030, and the entire city is climate positive by 2050. These are goals that are in line with the international goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees.
A significant force behind making this vision a reality is the local partnership involved in the Uppsala Climate Protocol, initiated by the municipality in 2010. It comprises around 30 major stakeholders from different sectors of society. WWF has estimated that if about 20 per cent of all municipalities in the world could create the same kind of collaboration platform as the Uppsala Climate Protocol and get about 20 per cent of local businesses on board, this would lead to annual emissions reductions that are larger than Sweden’s total annual emissions.