Sweden is the first country in the world to adopt a target to reduce consumption-based emissions. According to a new agreement between all political parties, emissions created abroad due to Sweden’s consumption will be included in the nation’s total climate target. The environmental organisation The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation welcomes the agreement, but fears the target will be hard to fulfil unless the politicians shortly present policy instruments on how it will be achieved.
Thursday afternoon, the cross-parliamentary group called “Miljömålsberedningen” (Environmental Target Committee), consisting of all eight parliamentary parties in Sweden, officially presented their proposal on how the climate impact caused by Sweden’s consumption should be reduced.
– No less than 60 percent of Sweden’s emissions are created abroad. So far, these emissions have remained invisible in the Swedish climate statistics. Their inclusion in Sweden’s emission targets is historical and something that The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, among many other organisations, have worked towards for a long time. We welcome that the politicians finally reached an agreement, even though we hoped for an even more ambitious target, says Karin Lexén, Secretary General at The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
The proposal was supposed to be presented to the Parliament January 31 this year, but the negotiations were prolonged. Press appearances from various party representatives from the committee have shown that the agreement was difficult to reach. One of the main disagreements has been whether the positive climate impact from Sweden’s export should be paired up and equalised with the consumption-based emissions or not.
The agreementfinally reached is that Sweden’s climate impact caused by consumption shall be reduced to net zero by 2045; in line with the current national climate target. The share of actual emission reductions within the net zero target should be determined, to some extent, by how the rest of the world delivers on its international commitments under the Paris Agreement. The parliamentary group also proposes that Sweden adopts a separate target to increase the positive climate impact from its export and gives special attention to emissions from international aviation and maritime emissions.
– Aligning the target with Sweden’s national climate target sends a strong signal that the on-going work to reduce consumption-based emissions will have to be prioritised by all future governments. That creates a certain stability and predictability, which is important. At the same time, a clear weakness is that the rest of the world’s eventual inability to live up to the Paris Agreement is suggested to motivate a reduced ambition on our own climate targets. The latest IPCC report is clear; every fraction of a degree above 1.5 degrees is fatal to mankind and ecosystems around the world, so Sweden must do their part, says Karin Lexén.
For the consumption-based emissions to be reduced in reality, the politicians need to complement the new target with policy instruments and not be afraid to make tough decisions.
– It’s essential that our politicians stay on course with the climate work and steer away from a dependency of fossil fuels. According to our survey, nine out of ten Swedes want to stop the import of gas and oil from Russia, but the Parliament hasn’t made such a decision yet. This kind of political inaction risks making the new climate target no more than a paper product, says Karin Lexén.
Source – Naturskyddsföreningen (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation):