Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, has the best air quality in the last 15 years. Levels of the deadly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – attributable to motorized traffic and heaters – have fallen to pre-1990 levels, according to data from Elbil collected by Clean Technica. The secret? Strong incentives to purchase electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles, urban traffic management, and a ban on old wood-burning boilers.

Bergen has received the distinction of Electric Car Capital of Norway, in an oil-producing country that, paradoxically, is strongly encouraging the purchase of zero-emission vehicles. In September 2018, 60% of new cars sold in the country were electric. Along with the promotion of zero-emission vehicles, in Bergen the traffic of diesel cars has decreased, responsible for releasing a large amount of NO2 and other particles that are harmful to health into the air. In addition, old wooden boilers and chimneys have been banned, and measures have been adopted to reduce motorized traffic, such as entrance tolls at peak times, and the promotion of measures to share cars and use public transport.

According to the latest report from the European Environment Agency, based on 2015 data, Air pollution produces 500,000 premature deaths every year in the group of 41 European countries, being the main cause. The report reflects a worsening compared to the previous report based on data from 2013, which quantified the number of annual deaths at 476,000. The deaths attributable to NO2 are 79,000.