What do Sweden’s political parties think about the environment?

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Sweden's political parties answer questions on the environment. (iStock)
Sweden’s political parties answer questions on the environment. (iStock)

Radio Sweden has asked the top candidates from the nine main political parties what they think about a range of issues ahead of the upcoming European election on May 25th. One of the most important issues that the European Parliament has to deal with is that of the environment and climate change.

What binding goals do you think the EU should set for climate policy for the year 2030?

Marita Ulvskog (Social Democrats) – We want Sweden’s government to push for an ambitious European climate policy in the European Council, with the following goals for the whole of the EU:
By 2030 greenhouse gas emissions down by 50%, compared with 1990 levels.
By 2030 renewable energy should make up 40% of the energy market.
By 2030 energy efficiency up by 40%.

Gunnar Hökmark (Moderates) – To reduce emissions is our highest priority when it comes to fighting climate change, and should take precedence over other goals. That is why we want an ambitious 50% cut in emissions by 2030, of which 40 percent should take place within the EU, and 10 percent through international schemes.

Marit Paulsen (Liberal Party) – The goal of the Liberal Party is a society free of carbon dioxide emissions. We as politicians should set the goals, but the market should decide which solutions are the best to reach them. The Liberal Party wants to see a wide range of energy sources, including modern nuclear power stations and renewable energy sources. Market-based solutions, such as the Emissions Trading System, should be strengthened and developed. The Liberal Party is also positive towards a carbon dioxide tax, but preferably on a global level. Only through international co-operation and commitments from the world’s largest emitters can the threat to our climate be stopped.

Isabella Lövin (Green Party) – There need to be three binding goals for member states to live up to by 2030.
1) At least 60% lower greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990
2) at least 45% of all energy should come from renewable sources
3) at least 40% higher energy efficiency compared with 2010 levels.
All these three goals are needed if we are to avoid the Earth getting warmer by two degrees Celsius. The European Commission estimates that more than a million new jobs will be created in the EU if we have three goals. The EU has to take the lead in the work against climate change around the world.
In addition we need, 4) a reform of the system governing the trade of emission allowances.

Christian Engström (Pirate Party) – The Pirate Party has no standpoint in this issue.

Malin Björk (Left Party)
60 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, of which all should take place within EU member states.
45 percent renewable energy.
40 percent energy efficiency.
We also want fundamental reforms of the failed system of trading emission allowances. Our vision is that the EU should be climate neutral by 2050, that is the only possible way, we only have one Earth. The Left Party believes that the government isn’t doing enough in climate change talks. We want Sweden to be at the forefront of the transition towards long-term climate targets.

Kent Johansson (Centre Party) – Three binding, ambitious goals for emission cuts, renewable energy and energy efficiency. I support the majority in the European Parliament which voted for at least
40% emission cuts
30% renewable energy
40% energy efficiency.

Lars Adaktusson (Christian Democrats) – A binding goal of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases by 40% compared to 1990’s levels. A flexible goal where member states can choose between renewable energy or energy efficiency.

Kristina Winberg (Sweden Democrats) – The Sweden Democrats support the goals set up by the EU for greenhouse gas emission reductions until 2020. After that we want to concentrate more on global treaties rather than European initiatives. Unfortunately there is no evidence that global emissions would be affected to any large extent if the EU takes the lead, and therefore we want to wait for global deals. A large risk if the EU takes the lead with expensive reforms is that industries would move to China, for example, where emissions are increasing every year, which would neither help the climate or help European economic growth.

Do you think that Swedish school should be able to refuse to serve meat from EU-countries with weaker animal protection laws than those in Sweden?

Marita Ulvskog (Social Democrats) – Yes. The meat that is served should be procured according to existing legislation. Local councils and authorities can put in place demands that restrict the purchase of meat to animals raised in a way that lives up to Swedish rules.

Gunnar Hökmark (Moderates) – Can’t answer yes or no. Free trade and the EU common market are important for the Moderates. Local authorities can already procure food that have to live up to standards on quality, animal welfare and environmental impact.

Marit Paulsen (Liberal Party) – No.

Isabella Lövin (Green Party) – Yes. I want local authorities to make the most of the new EU procurement laws, which make it possible to prioritize locally produced, or environmentally friendly food. It is absurd that a local authority can demand high standards when it comes to animal husbandry, but can then buy meat from pigs that have been treated badly in Denmark because it is cheaper. If we don’t do something soon Swedish pig farmers will be crowded out of the market. Public procurement in Sweden is worth SEK 500 billion annually, this money should be spent on supporting better animal welfare.

Christian Engström (Pirate Party) – Can’t answer yes or no. The common market, where goods that are approved in one member state are automatically approved in all the member states, is one of the positive things about the EU. We shouldn’t risk creating trade barriers that put paid to the common market. When it comes to procurement, schools and other public authorities should follow the rules about what can and should be prioritised.

Malin Björk (Left Party) – Yes. The EU has very dysfunctional legislation when it comes to animal protection, and many of the laws are very unclear. What has happened is that lobbyists have been able to get the European Parliament to delay stricter animal protection laws. The Left Party demands immediate action, we have to stop animal transports longer than eight hours, ban tail docking of pigs, and make sure that animals have enough space and material to satisfy their natural needs. The free market should no longer come before animal and human health.

Kent Johansson (Centre Party) – Yes. The new EU rules on procurement allow for the setting of standards when it comes to food quality and the environment.

Lars Adaktusson (Christian Democrats) – No. It should be possible to serve in Sweden all meat that comes from producers that live up to minimum EU standards.

Kristina Winberg (Sweden Democrats) – Yes. The Sweden Democrats want Sweden to have the right to limit imports of meat from animals that have faced unnecessary suffering.

Do you think it is positive that the EU can influence Swedish hunting rules, for example limiting wolf hunting?

Marita Ulvskog (Social Democrats) – Can’t answer yes or no. We decide about our hunting laws in Sweden. But in the EU we have decided to protect endangered species, such as wolves. As long as we abide by that, we can decide ourselves how the hunting should be carried out.

Gunnar Hökmark (Moderates) – No. Apart from respecting certain minimum levels when it comes to endangered species, we think that issues such as wolf hunting or the hunting of woodcocks, for example, should not be decided in Brussels. They should be made in Sweden by the people that are affected by them. We also think the current EU rules need to be changed.

Marit Paulsen (Liberal Party) – Can’t answer yes or no. The Swedish parliament has already handed over these decisions to the EU.

Isabella Lövin (Green Party) – Yes. It’s in all of our interests to protect biodiversity. Wolves are a part of our countryside. The EU has set up minimum rules to protect viable populations. If we want others to respect the rules and protect biodiversity, then we have to do it too.

Christian Engström (Pirate Party) – Can’t answer yes or no. The Pirate Party has no standpoint when it comes to hunting, but it is an area where you can ask yourself whether the best knowledge about each individual country is in Brussels or in the countries themselves.

Malin Björk (Left Party) – Can’t answer yes or no. The best thing would be if the government listened to all the knowledge there is among environmental organisations and researchers. The European Commission isn’t exactly known for its animal protection policies. To get a rap on the knuckles from them is a real low-water mark.

Kent Johansson (Centre Party) – No.

Lars Adaktusson (Christian Democrats) – No.. Hunting should be regulated on a regional and national level.

Kristina Winberg (Sweden Democrats) – No. Decisions about wild predators should be made as close as possible to the people that live close to them. The EU should not have any influence in this area.

Related Links:

Canada: Canada’s climate change stance ‘de-motivating’ say critics, The Canadian Press

Finland: FMI data show Finland warming up, Yle News

Russia: Oil companies push ahead with plans in Russia and Canada while sidelined in the U.S., Cryopolitics

Sweden:  Sweden may face EU court over emissions, Radio Sweden

United States: Global warming dials up our risks, UN report says, The Associated Press

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