1.5 degree life in cities: the case of Lahti, Oulu and Tampere

News 2022-08-04 at 11:08
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Together with Lahti, Oulu and Tampere, as well as 12 city residents, Demos Helsinki looked into how the 1.5 degree climate target can also be achieved with urban lifestyles.

Through the D-mat Climate Puzzle, the participating city residents planned changes to their daily lives that would reduce their carbon footprint to close to 2.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which is considered a sustainable level, by 2030.

Making changes that reduce the carbon footprint is possible for many

The city residents who participated in the experiment felt that reducing emissions would be quite easy in housing, consumption and food choices.

The greatest difficulty in reducing emissions for all involved was in leisure time. Alternatives to air travel were considered cumbersome, and going to a summer cottage is strongly linked to driving and growing energy demand.

The city takes care of some of the residents' emission reductions

In the public debate, measures to reduce one's own carbon footprint may have been seen as reducing one's own living space or freedom of choice. The study showed that there is not only one way to live a 1.5 degree life, but there are many different kinds of sustainable lifestyles.

The large carbon footprint of housing will be easier to shrink if sufficient affordable renewable electricity and heating is available. Reducing emissions from driving, on the other hand, requires not only the electrification of transportation but also efficient public transportation and a high-quality network of bicycle and pedestrian routes.

Although cities cannot directly influence the climate load of air travel, they can improve the urban environment by offering high-quality, local and low-carbon leisure opportunities.

Changes made by cities, for example, in the production of district heat and the shift to more low-carbon public transportation, reduce the carbon footprint, as it were, automatically. Decision-makers and cities have a particular responsibility to support the choice of sustainable lifestyles and to make decisions that reduce the carbon footprint of citizens.

“The carbon footprints of Lahti residents have already decreased thanks to renewable district heat. The tramway that started operating in Tampere has diversified public transportation and the Oulu bicycle routes make it considerably easier to move around. The emission reductions required by the 1.5 degree climate target can only be achieved by combining politics, businesses and individuals,” says Demos Helsinki consultant Otso Sillanaukee, who carried out the survey.

10 families are also involved in the Canemure subproject

In the Hinku municipalities of Northern Ostrobothnia, a Canemure subproject is starting in Pyhäjärvi and Tyrnävä, which is bringing in families to participate in the 1.5 degree experiment. In the subproject, sustainable everyday life experiments are directed, for example, at increasing the use of renewable energy by the residents of the municipality and improving the energy efficiency of homes.

There are four families from Pyhäjärvi and six from Tyrnävä. The workshops will start this week and the results will be available at the end of April.

The subproject also launched a call for tenders for the joint procurement of solar power plants. The objective is to lower the threshold for municipality residents to acquire panels. The acquisition is expected to take place during the coming spring and summer.

Further information: Konsta Joro, konstaaa.joro@iilaakso.fi

Results of the Demos project:

Further information

  • Demos Helsinki press release “1.5 degree life in cities: 12 stories on changes reducing carbon footprint”
  • Lahti: Environmental Counselling Manager Päivi Sieppi tel. +358 (0)50 559 4090, paivi.sieppi@lahti.fi
  • Oulu: Environmental Director Leena Tuuri, tel. +358 (0)44 703 6730, leena.tuuri@ouka.fi
  • Tampere: Development Manager Laura Inha, tel. +358 (0)40 801 6035, laura.inha@tampere.fi
  • The Sustainable Lahti Foundation: Programme Director Saara Vauramo, tel. +358 (0)44 7161585, saara.vauramo@lahti.fi
  • Demos Helsinki: Otso Sillanaukee, tel. +358 (0)50 544 5922, otso.sillanaukee@demoshelsinki.fi
  • D-mat: Michael Lettenmeier, tel. +358 (0)40 541 2876, michael@d-mat.fi

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