Why Oslo's 'greedy method' may be the answer to Utah's air pollution woes

We sent Deseret News reporter Erica Evans and photojournalist Spenser Heaps to Oslo to find out. They discovered the 'greedy method' may be the key to Utah's clean air future.

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  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2018 9:22 a.m.

    Isn't Norway one of those "socialist" countries that right wingers on this site complain about?

    Plus, Norway doesn't have Republicans that want to protect businesses from any sort of expense that would help cleanup the area.

    What works for a free thinking country like Norway, will get nowhere in Utah.

  • litemanq Sylva, NC
    Dec. 9, 2018 9:21 a.m.

    I used to live in Utah and suffered through decades of winter inversions, so I get it.

    It gets tedious to hear all of the 'virtue signaling' from those who are rich enough to buy residential solar and/or electric vehicles which was heavily subsidized by taxes and higher electricity rates paid by those who still can't afford them. Oops!

    The pollution problem is caused in part to bad government policies - zoning, permitting (or lack thereof), etc. that make housing expensive requiring families to move further away to afford to live. Nobody wants high density housing in their neighborhood because it might affect their property value.

    The point that I'm trying to make here is that the government can make things worse and then suggest that only it can solve the new problems (unintended consequences of their action). The article only glossed over the negatives which were substantial.

    Why aren't companies allowing telecommuting - all the time or in winter?
    Why aren't people doing more carpooling?
    Why rely on the government to solve the problem?
    You have the power to make small personal changes that, in aggregate, would have a large effect!
    Take personal action!

  • LCW ,
    Nov. 18, 2018 9:13 p.m.

    Please please, all of you leaders around the Utah valley. Pollution in our valley should be a high priority. Be greedy enough to jump on Oslo's ideas without taking years to study it out.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    Nov. 15, 2018 8:06 p.m.

    I appreciate the in-depth look and honest appraisal of the challenges and benefits of ‘going green’. I don’t get why the Right constantly disses these ideas and acts like this is some government conspiracy. Many countries like China are going green en masse and will overtake us by being more progressive while we argue about whether climate change is real. Even the Gulf States who produce most of our oil are implementing changes.

    Let’s quit worrying about why this won’t work and unite around finding solutions. Something of this scale naturally has a lot of kinks to work out, but there are enormous economic, health and climate benefits to making the changes.

    Finally, I don’t get why anyone of Faith would think that it’s OK to continue to pollute this beautiful planet we’ve been given. I’m an Environmentalist because of my Faith, not in spite of it.

  • Denverite Centennial, CO
    Nov. 15, 2018 10:59 a.m.

    In England in summer 2018, while I was there, a newspaper printed an article whose conclusion apparently gobsmacked the left-wing journalists there: a study showed that, in spite of all the impediments to cars (including $7 gas) and all the greenlighting of public transit there, and in spite of all the traffic jams, people still get to work in England *way faster* by car than by any public transit.

    It's not even close.

    If a similar study were done in the Salt Lake Valley, I suspect a similar result.

    The DN article's snark that "the right won't even compromise on anything that would make a difference" tries to hide the fact that, to many of us on the right, nothing the left has suggested so far has made (or will make) any real difference--other than allowing left-wingers' already-incredibly-obnoxious virtue signaling to reach a whole new level of self-righteousness.

    Left-wingers, suggest something that would actually make a difference, without resulting in your ripping our freedom to travel out of our bare hands, and we'll talk.

  • renya215 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 24, 2018 11:26 a.m.

    Fabulous article. Thank you so much for sharing this information with us. I will be sharing this. BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD. :) #cleanair

  • alanmuller Red Wing, MN
    Oct. 23, 2018 7:59 a.m.

    A valuable article. However the claims that garbage incineration is a good thing are incorrect.

  • Bigger Bubba Herriman, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 11:14 a.m.

    Creating an alternate I-15 route from Scipio through the west desert that circumvents Utah and Salt Lake Counties would cut down our pollution in a meaningful way.

  • Joshua Stewart Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 9:47 a.m.

    Awesome article! Thanks Erica Evans and Deseret News!

    A follow up article would be to look at how much of a city's gross domestic product is spent on transportation costs. According to Ian Lockwood, of Toole Design Group, cities like Houston have double and triple the GDP costs spent on transportation compared to more active transportation (biking, mass transit, and walking) friendly cities.

    We can be healthier, happier, and wealthier if we use active transportation more. Jeff Speck's book, Walkable City makes a strong argument that the best and most desirable cities now and for the future will be more walkable.

    Our young people should have active transportation as part of their "driver's ed" classes and we should change the name "driver's ed" to "transportation ed" so people can learn about the true costs and benefits of transportation choices.

  • rlsintx Saratoga Springs, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 9:43 a.m.

    After this winter and next (18-19, 19-20) we should see most gasoline in the wasatch front being tier 3, which promises some overall reduction in certain pollutants. Newer cars have cat converters which do radially better with the tier 3 gas. In 5-10 years, it'll make a big difference in the 4-5 counties most affected in UT.

    Electrics. It's not that you don't have to generate electricity to charge them, it's that large generation can be outside the tight valleys and the local vehicle emissions you breath are dramatically reduced, and that electrics just kill it on energy efficieny in city cycle driving due to very low losses associated with idling. And through time, the mix of electricity will include more non-fossil fuel sources, wherever they make sense and are employed - including at your own home/business. I don't see Utahns adapting to mass transit, sorry.

    NG is better than tight valley wood burning, fix all those and you make a huge step.

    Good time for DN to run a story about where tier 3 production stands today and near future, including which stations/areas will get it 1st so interested parties can choose to support them.

  • Susan Storm Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 9:31 a.m.

    It's discouraging to see a defeatist attitude on here.

    "Well, it's not going to work here, so let's not try anything."

    I guess the plan is just to bury our heads in the sand until a crisis forces action. Let's just hope it's not too late.

  • UtahnAbroad Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 8:26 a.m.

    I've lived in Europe for a long time now.
    People here still own a car for trips outside of the city, or to the countryside. They drive and love cars for the convenience too, but for day to day travel, to work or school - it's all by bus or tram. It's easier to take a bus to work and avoid all of the traffic and parking woes.

    I know transit in Utah isn't as frequent or convenient as it should be yet, but these things take decades to implement and if we plant the seeds now, we will be grateful 20 years from now when there are 100k more people in the valley and you don't have to sit in traffic for 2 hours to get downtown.

    We need to learn from the mistakes of LA. Invest in a dense city core with public transit options to all over the valley.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 8:21 a.m.

    Great article.

    Utah is in for a rude awakening. We have two choices:

    Oslo: where they reduce pollution and people adapt to alternatives to travel.
    California: Where it takes two hours to get anywhere and you are constantly in pollution soup.

    People, it's coming. I know you love your cars but it's coming. We can be a leader or we can be a follower.

  • TerraPack Sandy, UT
    Oct. 22, 2018 3:34 a.m.

    Sorry, DN. You could have learned a lot more just by having your whole staff use only public transit for two weeks.

    Norway is a very inapropos choice to visit when considering civic situations near enough to ours to offer more realistic, more economical, and usable alternatives.

    This reminds me of the UTA propaganda barrage to promote the Salt Lake-Ogden commuter rail back about 2006/7. They posed as a realistic and parallel situation the "T" commuter train between Dallas and Ft. Worth. UTA and their fellow travelers did that with straight faces as though they thoroughly believed in it.

    The trouble comes in finding reasonable parallel civic choices and parameters that make such a suggestion reasonable. Looking up the various physical, economic, and cultural resources of the two Texas cities and comparing to ours, we find that Salt Lake and Ft. Worth are indeed very close matches. However, that leaves somewhat of a quandary when comparing Ogden to, of all places, DALLAS! That pairing is, as I noted with the Norway case, not apropos with respect to Utah.

    For your next article, you should chose more wisely.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Oct. 21, 2018 8:28 p.m.

    Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is plentiful and burns far cleaner than gasoline. If Detroit were to make CNG an option on every car it would cost about $30 extra to make the CNG fuel system a bolt on option and another $600 for the CNG fuel system. It currently costs about $6,000 to convert a car to CNG.

    CNG also burns so clean that we have open flames on our gas ranges that pose no hazard in our homes.

    Once CNG powered vehicles become common place, CNG filling stations will follow.

    CNG also costs less than gasoline, and we have a 500 year supply in the USA.

  • Sandy Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 6:17 p.m.

    Awesome, inspiring article. Thank you. Such relevant content. Would love to see some of these changes implemented here in Salt Lake Valley.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 4:53 p.m.

    I drive a pick up, I drive a motor home, I even speed sometimes on the freeway at 75 in the slow lane to keep up with the other drivers. I like burning gasoline. When you can give us an electric pick up with power and range of todays models then I will consider a change. I remember not so long ago we were told the inversion was the result of wood burning stoves, I guess that didn’t do anything. I wonder how much of our inversion layer is a result of interstate trucking passing through the state. Nuclear power will help, say three or four plants. Clean coal and natural gas power plants are the way to go until someone gets the resolve to actually build a nuclear power plant.

  • 112358 Alpine, UT
    Oct. 21, 2018 4:21 p.m.

    Oslo has implemented draconian – arguably dictatorial – constraints on its citizens, going so far as to ban any form of automobile usage in the city center and discourage car ownership in general, and yet this article presents no evidence that these measures have resulted in a significant reduction – any reduction actually – in meaningful pollution levels where people live. (The article cites a modest improvement in one measurement along roadways; not a great metric to say the least.) As I write this article, Oslo's PM10 levels are an order of magnitude greater than Salt Lake City's.

    I think that there is a “lesson” here, but it is not among the ones that the author cites.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    Oct. 21, 2018 3:26 p.m.

    Let's see what pollution levels look like in SLC in 10 years and what that does to its marketability.

  • Sal Provo, UT
    Oct. 20, 2018 6:42 p.m.

    Salt Lake averages about 21 days of inversions each winter, with heavy pollution. How does that compare with Oslo's number of inversions each winter?

    The production of hybrid cars is a polluting process in itself.

  • rj Moss, Norway
    Oct. 20, 2018 1:33 a.m.

    A fairly balanced article that unfortunately fails to address the elephant in the room: that in one of the world's leading democracies, it has taken a thoroughly UNdemocratic process to implement real change. We residents of the Oslo fjord have had no say in the changes that have taken place, and there is a whole lot of grumbling from the masses over here.

    The lesson: Want to fix the world? Don't let the people vote on it.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Oct. 19, 2018 2:26 p.m.

    When comparing "solutions" that Norway uses, just keep in mind that the entire country of Norway has less population than the State of Colorado.

  • antone Daniel, UT
    Oct. 19, 2018 10:36 a.m.

    The Wasatch Front will not be able to clean up its air until Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and China cease sending their dirty airborne filth to Utah.

  • chadbag West Valley City, UT
    Oct. 19, 2018 6:28 a.m.

    Nuclear certainly is a possibility, and much "cleaner" than the existing sources of electrical power. "So-called "nuclear waste" is a problem, but we have solutions for that, if anyone had the cajones to actually accept and implement them.

    "Nuclear waste" is a smaller problem than the enormous amounts of pollution put into the air daily, affecting everyone, from burning coal, oil, and even "clean" natural gas (and I am not talking about carbon or other so-called "green house" emissions, though if you worry about that, then that too). Nuclear has less environmental impact than any of the "burning" energy solutions and some say less than solar and wind (which take up space).

    I like electric cars. I drive a plug-in hybrid and try hard to keep it in EV (electric vehicle) mode and keep the gasoline engine off. But if we are to convert a significant portion of our cars over to electric power, we need a vastly large electrical generation and transmission system to charge all these cars. They say there is about 1% EV penetration nationally, more or less. To get to 30%, is a 30x increase. We don't have the infrastructure to support that, let alone a higher percentage.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:00 p.m.

    metamoracoug - Hydro power is fine by me but probably isn't feasible for all of North America. Not only that, but environmentalist law suits go on for years every time a new dam is proposed.

    An interesting comparison is Washington. WA has similar mountainous terrain, coastline, rainfall and elevation change to Norway. Not coincidentally WA gets over 70% of their power from hydro. So in WA it's an excellent, and inexpensive source of power. In Kansas you aren't going to generate too much power from hydro since there needs to be an elevation change to turn the turbines.

    Interesting side note - Nuclear, Coal and NG are all technically hydro. The fuel heats water and the steam turns the turbine.

    Dave D - you said "Bad air kills.... It ought to be a moral imperative to limit it..."

    That's the kind of hyperbole that makes reasonable discussions impossible. Car exhaust does not kill unless you are literally sucking on the tail pipe or enclosed space. And trying to compare a discussion on the best source of transportation to some sort of moral imperative? Your post is ironic. Trying to force your will on others while claiming moral superiority is actually immoral.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 10:24 p.m.

    Tucker - I wasnt actually trying to counter Dr Doug's comments, I was trying to add a little more of the story to them

    WAUthethird - There isn't any definitive evidence that oil comes from organic material (C 12) - that's just the common theory. There is significant but also not definitive science showing that it comes from geological sources (C 13). When a probe entered Tritons atmosphere it found significant traces of C 13 showing that oil can occur from geological sources

    Sophie - you can't smell or taste car exhaust. That's a scientific fact. People claim this all the time, but they are wrong. What you smell during an inversion is methane from the wet lands. If SL and Utah Valleys had no people it would still be just as smoggy in the winter time

    Tbatts - would you care to explain what you mean by "subsidize" car driving? I've been driving a car in Utah for 30 years and have never been subsidized. But, I have helped subsidize other government pet projects by paying an exorbitant gas tax, ludicrous property tax every time I register my car, the ridiculous car pool lane tax if I want to use the carpool lane (yes, it's a tax folks), and many other car based taxes

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:10 p.m.

    Nope, this is mostly nonsense. It's almost totally inapplicable.

  • Sophie 62 Spring City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:57 p.m.

    Have you ever driven down Spanish Fork Canyon into Utah County during an inversion? There's a wall of bad air waiting for you. You can see it, smell it and even taste it.
    You may not have breathing problems, but you know someone who does.

    Do we have a right to pollute the air other people breathe? Is it one of our treasured 'freedoms?' Or do we have an obligation to do better, as responsible people?
    Bad air is an expensive problem. It isn't cheap to fix, but it's worth doing. There ARE things we can do. They may be less convenient. We have to get more creative about how we get to work, shop, get kids to school and so on.
    Those in power need to believe we citizens really mean it when we say 'fix this problem.' Or they won't take the political risk.
    Lots of smaller steps, like Oslo, are probably the solution. As one commenter said, there's no one silver bullet that's going to fix this.
    The problem with nuclear power is deadly nuclear waste. Until they find a foolproof way to safely transport and store it, nuclear is not a viable solution to our problem. Nuclear power will not be clean power until they solve this problem. That is reality.

  • Tbatts Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:18 p.m.

    We subsidize car driving above and beyond the amount we subsidize buses and bikes and walking.

    That is the problem. Not the lack of the “sexy” stuff Oslo happens to do.

    Also no analysis of why we have too many cars should neglect to mention minimum parking requirements. Cities force developers to build parking lots bigger than the building they intent to build. So it’s impossible to get anywhere but by driving, even if you got a big nice bike lane.

  • dski HERRIMAN, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 7:46 p.m.

    The article fails to include a few issues that contrast each city. One of them is cultural impact of automobiles. Owning and driving cars is one of them. Every American teenager, including ours in Utah, is looking forward to that day he/she drives and own a car. Also, the economy and time of an electric car still have a long way to meet our needs. For example, thousands of Utahns are on the road as they drive to various destinations during holidays. When electric cars are charged for 10 minutes or less, the possibility is there. Imagine driving to St George but must often stop for hours at a time to charge your car. No vehicle access to City Creek? That will be the day.

  • WAUthethird South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 5:37 p.m.

    @george of the jungle:
    You think that oil is made by the Earth, because it's too deep down for it to come from fossils? Hold up there, let me correct you on that. Oil is typically found deep below the surface because it's old. Layers of rock have covered it enough to compress it into oil, which we then can use. Life has existed for millions upon millions of years; there's no reason that oil can't be found deep below the surface.

    And yes, it is the second most plentiful liquid on Earth next to water (excepting magma and liquid iron), but you think the Earth makes it? How would it go about doing that? Oil is inherently organic in origin. The Earth could not "make it". The reason that oil can run engines is because the energy comes from once-living organisms. If not, then we'd all be running our cars on geothermal energy. But hey, that's clean, right?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 3:40 p.m.

    I could tell you oil isn't a fossil fuel, it's too deep in the ground to be a fossil. The earth makes it, it is the 2nd most plentiful liquid in earth, next to water. I can't worry about oil. The major problem is jet spray. You ever heard of death by a thousand cuts. Every single item that increase cost, cuts standard of living.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 3:34 p.m.

    I took an express bus from Utah County to downtown SLC for many years. UTA decided to cancel most of the express service buses, including the one I rode, wanting to force riders onto FrontRunner. When I tried Front Runner, I found that even though I drove an additional 6-7 miles, my commute time almost doubled from 40 minutes to about 1 hour and 15 minutes, adding 1 hour and 10 minutes to my commute each day. Also, it required an additional transfer, which increased the chances of a problem and in bad weather was just annoying.

    I have been back on I-15 for the past few years, and have no incentive to try UTA again. UTA decided to ignore the voice of the customer, and instead tried to force a solution on commuters. Most of the people on the old express bus I rode are also back on I-15, clogging the road and adding to pollution. Nicely done UTA.

  • metamoracoug metamora, IL
    Oct. 18, 2018 2:52 p.m.

    SME queried: "The statement "The city has also banned fossil fuel heating, effective in 2020" concerns me. I'm curious to see what their alternative is and how well it works. Heating your home is a pretty big deal."

    Banning fossil fuels was not a big deal for Norwegians. 95% of all their electricity is hydroelectricity -- from the flow of water.

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 2:52 p.m.

    Wow, some interesting, insightful comments here and little to no divisive partisanship. Did something happen? Are we in the millennium?

    @PP: Thanks for the counter-point to Dr. Doug. I would very much like to see the data.

    @chadbag: Thanks. I didn't recognize the game theory connection.

  • chadbag West Valley City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 2:45 p.m.

    I drive an Audi A3 e-tron, which is a plugin hybrid. 2/3 of my travel is non-emissions (either electric or "coasting", non internal combustion engine). I occasionally see Teslas and have seen a few Volts and two other A3 e-trons. If you want to really push electric power for vehicles, you need to have the electrical infrastructure, and power generation facilities to handle it. In the Winter, solar does not work so well here in Utah on many of the days, and wind is an on again/off again proposition.

    Abusive policies of the electric companies with regards to those who privately invest in solar panels and put electricity BACK into the grid for them to sell (when they have excess), and the fantasy that solar and wind can supply all the power we need, need to be overcome. There is just not the infrastructure now to support home or away charging of any measurable percentage of electric vehicles along the Wasatch Front, let alone in all of Utah (and in the US).

    Right now, the only technology that can provide "clean" power on a reliable basis and in large quantity is nuclear. But the artificial hurdles put up against nuclear power means it won't happen.

  • iplaydat South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 2:16 p.m.

    I bought an energy star rated house not too long ago. Then I added solar panels that can generate 100% of my energy needs on sunny days. Then I added 2 Tesla backup batteries. I have an automated home that turns lights on and off with the sun, and schedules thermostat temps when we are not home. I also work from home much of the time, and my miles are so low on my cars that my auto insurance company doesn't believe me during their regular audits. My cars are 2008 or newer too.

    So I must ask, what more do you want me to do? When it is enough? Haul a Christmas tree in -15 degree weather on my bike? Forget it!

  • J. Smith Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 1:33 p.m.

    We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children. - Proverbs

  • UtesnJzz4Life SLC, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 1:10 p.m.

    We've had the solution for eliminating fossil fuels for 60 years. Nuclear. By far the most cost effective, clean, and lowest environmental impact than any renewable energy source I've heard of. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric all impact the environment more than nuclear would.

  • sojoman Riverton, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 1:07 p.m.

    I think the most realistic solution is perhaps one that will come naturally. I am typing this comment in an office building in downtown Salt Lake. There are about 8 or so of us in the office, who all commuted in this morning from the suburbs. Except for maybe a couple of us, we can be doing our same jobs at home as long as we have an internet connection, which we all do. While some jobs require being physically present, more and more we are moving to an economy where a majority of jobs can be done by telecommuting. Consider the benefits to the employee; working from home, save the cost and time of commuting. Consider the benefits to the employer; less office space expense, happier employees, broader talent pool since jobs can be filled by non-local employees. As our culture becomes more and more comfortable working with each other over the internet and technology continues to improve making the experience that much more effective, I believe telecommuting for many jobs will become more the norm than the exception. Improved air and other environmental improvements will be a natural consequence.

  • Brad Peterson South Ogden, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:55 p.m.

    The article mentions these ideas:

    *$8 a gallon gas
    * Banning natural gas furnaces
    * Banning cars from many places in cities
    * Getting mass transit up to 50% (The Wasatch Front is around 1-2%)
    * Getting families to use bicycles in the winter.

    The article states that after all these changes, Oslo is still failing to hit target pollution requirements and people aren't noticing any pollution changes.

    No, I don't think Oslo is the answer. It's ridiculously expensive and unrealstic here. Oslo feels like a San Francisco style answer. The first politician in Utah that attempts it will be voted out immediately.

    We should keep doing down the route many locals have identified. Cleaner cars (not expensive electric, just cleaner), banning dirtier old cars on bad days, stricter "inversion day" enforcements for things like wood burning, low NOx water heaters, low NOx furnaces, etc. We'll never be free from inversions, but we can improve it.

  • chadbag West Valley City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:47 p.m.

    For people responding about "Greedy". It is indeed the proper term and there is no mis-translation. "Greedy" comes from game theory (per Wikipedia: Game theory is the study of mathematical models of strategic interaction between rational decision-makers). "Greedy" is when rational actors make small decisions that are bound to work, versus big decisions that most likely won't work. They want a guaranteed increase to their favor versus a non-likely but bigger increase. There is a related algorithm in mathematics where you "mak[e] the locally optimal choice at each stage" (again per Wikipedia).

    To the article: For those that say Oslo is much bigger than SLC in terms of population size: That may be strictly true when considering ONLY SLC. But for the whole SLValley, which is what you would need to consider, they are similar in size. Per 2010 census, SLV was over 1M.

    I was in Oslo in Nov 2016, in a car (which we had driven from Sweden). It was frustrating to find parking and to drive in the city, and I never saw so many Teslas in my life. They have some interesting ideas, but Oslo is much more compact than SLV so things that work there would be harder to implement here.

  • DevastisElite Skull Valley, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:33 p.m.

    It's unfortunate that this article had to be made political. Being "on the right" doesn't mean I don't support conservation efforts nor does it mean that I feel we shouldn't try.

    The issues I see are not resolved solely by the changes recommended. Public transportation is ALWAYS slow especially when you live in the suburbs/outlying areas of the metropolitan "center". The Salt Lake area work force extends from Dugway to Ogden and American Fork. We have multiple cities, municipalities, and counties needing to connect and work together to form a smooth, contiguous system. One city can say they don't need the extra public transit, refuse to pay the new taxes, and break the system. Other cities are so disconnected they'd need a whole new system (or have lower usage), making that portion a tax burden.

    I've lived in the suburbs and used public transit. It's terrible--taking up to 3 hours for what would normally only be a 20-30 minute drive specifically because it was multiple transit systems. Electric vehicles (or even buses) wouldn't be viable due to distances people drive and the time it takes to recharge the vehicle.

    We need to find our own solution due to our unique area.

  • Cliff Pettigrew Grantsville, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:30 p.m.

    I like the freedom of using my car, but there are times I use public transportation, it has gotten better the past several years, but it has a ways to go before it becomes the norm instead of the exception.
    As for solar, I can't see borrowing money to pay for it, even if they can show me how it pays for itself, it's still debt and that has risk. Then I look at when I need to replace my roof in about 10 years, I would have to pay extra to have the solar removed and replaced. So hopefully solar becomes more efficient and affordable in 10 years, by then I should have enough cash to pay for it outright and it can go in a new roof.
    Biking everywhere isn't practical where I live, but I could see getting a small electric car someday for the errands I run.

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:29 p.m.

    Dr Doug and Tucker - those vehicles that are exempt are exempt for a reason. In most cases a very good reason. Vehicles used in infrastructure, building, mining, etc all are high power engines, factories, etc that by default produce a lot of emissions. There are no real ways around this and if government forced these companies to shut down - society would shut down. The same is true in Oslo, this article just ignores it.

    A note on the pollution - several independent studies done at the height of inversion season about 5 or so years ago found that less than 2% of the smog trapped under the inversion layer came from man made sources. So by your studies Dr Doug only about 3% of 2% (0.06%?) of the smog comes from commuters.

    But by all means, lets try and pass idling ordinances that in reality produce more emissions than they eliminate. An object at rest takes much more energy to start in motion that just letting it idle for a few minutes. My brother once accidentally idled his car for 12 hours and only used 1/8 of a tank of gas. Also starting your car causes much more wear on the components. Idling your car at a red light is hardly an issue worth considering.

  • Dave D Canton, SD
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:25 p.m.

    I live in a small town and am fortunate enough to either walk or bike to work every day of the year. I am happier because of it. I know not everyone can do this, but I can tell you that pollution (and the predominant attitudes to do little to nothing meaningful about it) convinced me I no longer wanted to live in the state.
    Bad air kills. We all contribute to it. It ought to be a moral imperative to limit it, not just in our daily decisions, but in advocacy efforts.

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:50 a.m.

    Dr. Doug, that's fascinating. Given how much "science" in popular culture is corrupted, I guess I wouldn't be too surprised if the popular conception of emissions problems as relating to overall vehicle volume is simply wrong. It's very common for apples and oranges to be aggregated, and then for the aggregate data to be misrepresented.

    Please elaborate? How do these vehicles "avoid emission testing programs?" How can we identify them and get them off the road? That would seem to be the kind of "greedy" [sic] incremental response Norway would approve of.

  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:29 a.m.

    Increasing the number of electric vehicles in Utah would require generating more electricity, more than solar or wind could provide. Right now, that means more coal-fired power plants -- unless America will finally embrace the obvious solution, nuclear power.

    This article ignores the environmental impact of electric vehicles. Batteries are mined. Their materials are shipped across the globe. They only last a few years, then must be re-made. Take those factors into account next time you describe electric vehicles as "green."

  • Dr. Doug Eagle, ID
    Oct. 18, 2018 11:25 a.m.

    Norway does not provide the answer to Utah's air pollution problem. The scientific data clearly show that most of the air pollution in urban areas in the Intermountain West ( both summer and winter) comes from just a few cars -- only 3-4% produce 75% of the pollution! These vehicles avoid emission testing programs (again clearly shown in scientific studies regardless of the location, and produce the majority of the airborne particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone-forming pollutants. And tightening new vehicle standards (or introducing electric vehicles) does little to improve air quality, because new vehicle standards are not much "cleaner" than previous emission standards. My research shows that a single high emitter produces as much pollution as 800 vehicles! Unfortunately, the press (Deseret News included) does not investigate the science of urban air quality. And the regulators are not very interested either.

  • The Atheist Provo, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 10:59 a.m.

    "There are no atheists in foxholes."

    Other than that falsehood, I agree with the sentiment of your comment. What I find interesting is how conservatives fight "environmentalism" when liberals are in power, but once they get the power, they get all mushy and green! When it comes right down to it, political parties are not about good ideas (vs bad ideas), they are about who has the power, regardless of the ideas!

  • PP Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 10:55 a.m.

    Good idea - lets have the government pass laws that force us to all get bikes. Are we going to have a bike lane all the way to Las Vegas, Denver, Calgary and San Francisco (the nearest major city in any direction from SLC) or is the magic of electric buggies going to take us there. That would only make a trip to vegas take about 24 hours. Or do environmentalists expect us to all live within 10 miles of home, which is the range that an electric car or bike are reasonable? How very progressive, trying to set progress back by 150 years.

    I will say this - when you can design an electric vehicle that can carry 6 people with luggage while pulling a trailer for 400 miles and recharge 100% in 5 minutes I am all in.

    Western Europe is not Utah or the western US. Almost all of what was suggested in this "study" would not work in Utah.

    Finally, I am not going to take away your bike, and I think having nice bike paths is a great idea - why do greenies use fake science to try and take away my freedom?

  • Juozas Orem, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:41 a.m.

    Interesting insights. Very good article. If we as a society could find ways to supplement power it would be great. The problem here in the US is that fossil fuels still be provide approximately 68% of all the power. We'd have to find other more productive means to enhance the use of electric power, NOT negative means and penalization and taking away ones right to choice. I'm not interested in forcing people to make changes, they have to make their own choices. Until we find something other than wind mills, and solar power to make this work in an effective manner, we should NOT force society as a whole to do something that they should choose on their own to do. Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoy the insights you provided, but we have to look at a lot of factors here, including one very important one and that is the influx of people to Utah and one more important thing, the birth rate here. How do you solve that problem? The culture here is to have lots of children, and freely. Are you going to penalize this cultural aspect of Utah just to clean the air. Great article but there is a tremendous amount of researching to do and I don't like penalizing people to attain societal goals.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:34 a.m.

    "State officials say even if we do nothing, the air will continue to get better due to stricter federal standards for vehicles and fuel."

    So the same group that for years has railed against "liberals in California" for pushing fuel efficiency standards--some of which were adopted at the federal level--as government overreach, are now pointing to those same standards as the solution to the problem? It's almost as if they're starting to recognize that government intervention on environmental matters can work.

    "We all know that Utah is not Norway. When the fires occurred in California we suffered the smoke. Outside influences have to be dealt with and that means at least the West has to follow Norway's example. "

    Of course, SLC isn't Oslo and there are some differences. That doesn't mean we must throw the baby out with the bathwater. They have taken numerous steps to incrementally bring down pollution, rather than looking for one silver bullet. I would wager more than a few of those small changes could help in SLC as well.

  • Soon to be a Springville guy Parowan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:26 a.m.

    A few years ago while living in Las Vegas we had a terrible water situation and with Vegas just beginning to really grow. The Las Vegas Valley water department paid every home owner just enough money to allow homeowners to replace their old 5 gallon toilet to 1 1/2 gallons flush toilets! They went even further, if a person would change from grass to Deseret landscaping the water department would pay to do it. Following their plans. That really made a difference in the water situation.
    When I think about this, I think about Utah, specifically Salt Lake , I believe the The state providers of natural gas should pay for people to convert from wood burning to gas fireplaces with blowers. Pay to change out old gas appliances with new 98% efficiency. Then the electric provider needs to look into providing charging stations.
    This is something The the provider of electric services, and gas suppliers, should have started to do this years ago.
    Just saying!?

  • axle Riverton, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:23 a.m.

    Thank you for giving us an in depth look at this from several different angles and being willing to give the good and bad of it. It definitely got me thinking. I don't know if everything that Oslo did would work here especially with hydroelectric power but I am sure we can come up with solutions that work for our area and climate.

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:22 a.m.

    I find it strange and lamentable that a few commenters use the word "environmentalist" as if it were an invective. There is an old saying that goes, "There are no atheists in foxholes." Similarly I believe we will all be "environmentalists" when we come to the conclusion that our natural resources are not unlimited, that clean air and clean water are quality of life issues not to be taken for granted and that we are all stewards of this planet with an individual responsibility to do our part to "dress and keep" it.

  • Den Den West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:17 a.m.

    The price tag for what they are doing is in question...secondly, Oslo has a population of 634,293 vs SLC of 200,000.

    Like one reader said...SLC is not Oslo.

  • HSTucker Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 9:09 a.m.

    Greedy? That seems to be a translation error.

    Incremental improvements have nothing to do with greed.

  • Coyoteghost Saint George, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:58 a.m.

    What an exciting project by the Deseret News! Congratulations for your foresight and initiative in undertaking this research. Hopefully, there will be those citizens (private and governmental) who will volunteer to take up the challenges to make similar things happen here.

  • liberal larry Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 8:25 a.m.

    We drive a Chevy Volt, which is essentially a plug-in hybrid. It gets around 50 miles per charge, and then switches to gasoline.

    The 100 miles a week we drive electrically takes takes about 3 gallons of gasoline exhaust out of the air. We haven't bought gas since sometime in September. When we get our solar panels, and Tesla storage unit, our fuel will be free!

    The performance of electrical cars is amazing! They accelerate instantly, are quiet, and the maintenance costs are a fraction of internal combustion engines.

    It's not a matter of "if", but when electric cars are the norm!

  • Lolly Lehi, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 7:53 a.m.

    We all know that Utah is not Norway. When the fires occurred in California we suffered the smoke. Outside influences have to be dealt with and that means at least the West has to follow Norway's example. The environmentalists are the main problem since they believe they have it right and do so in some ways, but they are also the problem as the other writer pointed out.

  • RiDal Sandy, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 7:01 a.m.

    "State officials say even if we do nothing, the air will continue to get better due to stricter federal standards for vehicles and fuel."

    Here's the key to understanding: Environmentalists will always claim that "it is not enough"; but then, if they get into power, they cite the improvements that will occur "even if we do nothing" and claim credit for them.

  • SME Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 6:30 a.m.

    I'm glad we have the opportunity to see what other places are doing and the costs and benefits.

    The statement "The city has also banned fossil fuel heating, effective in 2020" concerns me. I'm curious to see what their alternative is and how well it works. Heating your home is a pretty big deal.

    I doubt people in Norway travel as far as we do. The limited range of current electric cars would not be as big a problem in Norway.

  • cityboy Farmington, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 6:23 a.m.

    This is great article. Thanks DN for making the effort and investment to bring it to us.

    Yes, it would be a struggle for Utah to make changes similar to the ones that Oslo has implemented. Legislators typically want changes that realize results only if they can occur before the next election cycle. Tackling our air quality problems will require a long-term commitment and investment combined with changes in attitudes and approaches. These are not the strong-suit of our lawmakers.

    The fallacy some hold is that making improvements to air quality limits our freedoms. But there is nothing quite like the limited freedom that comes from lung disease, the need for our children to stay indoors for recess and the inability to breathe.

    Simply relying on someone else, i.e., fuel-makers, the federal government, or car-makers, to solve our chronic air quality problems is short-sighted and dilusional. No significant gains will be made unless we advance from playing pattycake with the problem and instead forge a long-term comprehenive plan with teeth.

  • Max Upstate, NY
    Oct. 18, 2018 4:49 a.m.

    One of the most basic principles of economics is that people respond to incentives. If you want less of something, tax it. If you want more, subsidize it. There is nothing "greedy" about it. It is simply that people rationally consider the costs and benefits in their decision making. Oslo has figured out that by taking the economic approach, people will change their behavior when it is in their interest to do so.

  • Sore loser Oakland, CA
    Oct. 18, 2018 4:49 a.m.

    The biggest issue regarding bike use in cities is safety

  • JasonH84 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 18, 2018 1:18 a.m.

    Great article, and great example of meaningful changes that can be implemented in a very short time span. We need leaders who will see the need and have the will to make these kinds of changes. Oslo shows us it can make a diffeeence.

  • batfink Australia, 00
    Oct. 18, 2018 12:32 a.m.

    Aahhh, so electric vehicles are the magical answer.

    Hmm, still doesn't deal with the fact that the environmentalists detest coal, gas and even nuclear for electricity creation.

    And their magical answer?

    Solar, wind and new and improved magical thermal solar!

    Trouble is that when the volcano Tambora erupted some 200 years ago, it forced Joseph Smith's father off the family farm because nothing would grow across the USA for 2 years- the sun was blocked with volcanic ash globally for around 2 years.

    What, are you environmentalists really going to claim that earthquakes and volcanoes don't occur nowadays?
    Magnitude 7 quakes occur somewhere every week now.

    Hmm, the *loud voices of environmentalists can't power a thing* and Saints in Utah need to remember that.
    When the sun doesn't shine, those environmentalists will laugh when the food in your dormant freezer etc starts going bad for that is exactly what they did in South Australia when there wasn't enough power thanks to the government closing the coal power stations down.

    Good government doesn't place its faith in a hyped-up Tesla battery that can power 30,000 homes for half an hour as brownouts last longer than that.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    Oct. 17, 2018 10:26 p.m.

    DesNews, send a correspondent to Oslo in the Winter for a followup. (Summer only lasts about 3 months.) The photos, experience, and story will be altogther different; the taxes won't be. Sky high.