The City of Oslo’s so-called “Climate Agency” (Klimaetaten) was drawing criticism this week after it put out a call for a new advertising and PR agency for promotion and communications that can cost up to NOK 37 million (USD 4.5 million). “Does the Climate Agency think money grows on trees?” asked an opposition politician from the Conservative Party on the Oslo City Council.
Nicolai Øyen Langfeldt told newspaper Dagsavisen on Thursday that the city was spending “enormous” amounts on public relations, “at the same time we’re far from achieving our climate goals.” He noted that the millions sought to promote a green image and motivate Oslo residents to take part in climate initiatives “could buy a lot of battery recharging stations” for electric vehicles instead.
Both the Liberal- and Reds parties also critized the city’s Labour-run government for budgeting so much money for promotion of Oslo’s climate program during an ongoing pandemic. “If the Climate Agency can spend (so much) on advertising, then it clearly has been allotted too much money,” claimed Eivor Evenrud of the Reds.
Agency leader Heidi Sørensen, a former politician herself, defended the expenditure on the grounds that her agency is charged with carrying out climate communication. “This isn’t about telling everyone about all the good things Oslo is doing,” Sørensen claimed. “It’s about stimulating residents and business to be more climate-friendly.”
The City of Oslo revealed huge budget overruns this week that will be the subject of special hearings next week.