Sweden could get new climate law

The EU claims that Sweden has failed properly to regulate industrial waste. (iStock)
Sweden’s climate law committee wants an impartial body to check that government environmental policies follow the action plans, which would be updated every four years. (iStock)
A report from a cross-party committee calls for a law forcing future governments to set out plans for reaching Sweden’s long-term climate goals.

Anders Wijkman, who is chairman of the committee, tells Swedish Radio News that a law would mean stronger guidance for the government.

“It would make Sweden’s efforts to cut down emissions more robust. It is easier to change a decision in parliament than to change a law,” Wijkman tells Swedish Radio News.

Message to companies

Nina Ekelund from the corporate Haga Initative was one of those involved with the report. She responds by email to Radio Sweden, writing that a climate law would send signals to Swedish companies.

“A law shows that climate policy is long-term. That all parties agree shows the seriousness and dignity of the climate issue. Now there should be no doubt in the business community on how to prioritize their investments.”

How soon will it have an effect on the market?

“We see stranded assets already. And the climate law removes any doubt about the direction. The low carbon society is here to stay.”

Impartial body needed

The climate law committee wants an impartial body to check that government environmental policies follow the action plans, which would be updated every four years.

It also wants to move forward Sweden’s zero-emissions target by five years from 2050 to 2045.

In order to reach that goal, Sweden would need to cut down emissions to 85 percent of 1990 levels, and compensate the remaining 15 percent by emissions trading or by actions such as planting more trees to capture carbon emissions. This part of the proposal has been criticised for not being ambitious enough by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, and Mikael Carlsson, who serves as an expert on the committee, shares this view.

“It is obvious that this is a political compromise that does not reflect what science says is needed to avoid dangerous climate change,” Carlsson says.

The previous centre-right government had asked this committee in 2010 to come up with proposals on how to improve the way Sweden works with climate issues. It consists of representatives from seven of the eight parties in parliament. The Sweden Democrats do not have a representative on the committee as they were not in parliament when the committee was founded.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian river carries carbon from thawing permafrost to sea, Alaska Dispatch News

Finland:  Climate change brings new insect arrivals to Finland, Yle News

Greenland:  New model predicts flow of Greenland’s glaciers, Alaska Dispatch News

Norway:  UN Secretary-General to visit Norwegian Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Russia:  Ancient virus found in Arctic permafrost, Alaska Dispatch News

Sweden:  How will global warming affect the average Swede?, Radio Sweden

United States: Arctic sea ice hit record low for January, Alaska Dispatch News


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