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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

6 February 2017

Sweden pursues carbon neutrality by 2045

The government proposal gained support from the majority of parties and would see climate target become law by 2018.

On Thursday 2 February, Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven unveiled proposals to set a statutory target to go carbon neutral by 2045, coming into effect by 1 January 2018.

Under the proposed Climate Act, the government will be required by law to include a climate report in the country's annual budget and to produce a climate action plan every four years at the beginning of each new parliamentary term. 

The plans were first announced last year by the parliamentary committee responsible for environmental policy.

The Climate Act would see the nation cut territorial emissions at least 85 per cent from 1990 levels and offset the remaining 15 per cent by investing in green projects overseas.

Seven of eight political parties – all but the Sweden Democrats – agreed to pass the binding law obliging future governments to set more ambitious goals to cut fossil fuel use. 

Prime Minister Löfven said the "historic" law would represent an "epochal shift" in Sweden's climate policy.

He also said: "This is the most important reform of our generation politicians will do for Sweden's young people, our children and grandchildren…Sweden will be one of the world's first fossil-free welfare countries."

The European Union has set a target for an 80-95 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Sweden is already on target to generate all of its electricity from renewables by 2040.

Last year, the country secured 57 per cent of its power from renewables including wind and hydro, according to Anne Vadasz Nilsson, Director General of the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate.

Isabella Lövin, Sweden's Minister for International Development and Climate Change, said: "The fact that a large majority of the parliament is behind the framework provides sustainability and stability, and that is exactly what climate policy needs. The switch provides huge opportunities in terms of jobs, better health and competitiveness."

The proposal will now be examined by the legislative council before the full legislative proposal is published next month with more details on how the goal will be achieved to be released in June.

It is believed that action will focus on the greening of the transportation sector as well as a new strategy to deal with emissions from consumer goods imports.

Across the world, countries are beginning to adopt more ambitious targets including Costa Rica aiming to be carbon neutral by 2021 and Norway by 2050.

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