Environment focus: Sweden’s take on the climate emergency

What is the climate emergency work of Minister for the Environment and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister in Sweden, Isabella Lövin?

“The climate emergency is a serious threat to global prosperity and security if we do not end our dependence on fossil fuels and build environmentally sustainable societies. Ignoring scientists’ repeated warnings would be completely irresponsible. Sweden can lead the way and show that a fossil-free world is not only possible but can also promote our prosperity and our companies,” states Minister for Environment and Climate and Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin. (1)

Plans for the immediate future?

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the government’s environmental and climate policy. It works on many issues concerning the climate, biological diversity, chemicals, eco cycles, nature and forest conservation, marine and water environments, radiation safety and international environmental cooperation. Minister Lövin goes on to say in a statement made in December 2019 while presenting a climate policy action plan to the Riksdag; “in a unique move, Sweden is moving forward with an action plan and the fundamental approach that consideration of the climate must be incorporated into everything we do in society.” (2) The government bill, with its 132 measures, will take a holistic approach to how emissions will be reduced throughout Swedish society.

One particular priority for the government is protecting the oceans. “The global oceans are not in good shape. To save them, and to avoid overexploiting their life-giving resources, we must take better care of them. That is why this is a priority for the government,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde. (3) The action has taken the form of signing up to an international initiative to protect 30% of oceans by 2030. The ocean environment is under huge pressure from climate change, overexploitation, pollution, and eutrophication. Currently, only 1% of international oceans are protected – therefore – it is obvious that action needs to take shape urgently.

“We must do what we can to protect the oceans, and creating marine protected areas is one of the most important measures we can take. When well-managed and effective, such areas can protect biodiversity, make the ecosystem more resilient and contribute to more sustainable use of marine resources,” says Lövin. (4) Examining how the oceans can be utilised to help prevent climate change while simultaneously recognising that they themselves need to be protected is something that the Ministry as a whole will prioritise.

Lövin will also take part in a meeting on the Getting to Zero Coalition organised by the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO). Those who sign up to the initiative are committed to ensuring that zero-emission vessels are commercially available by 2030, thus contributing to the target of halving greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by 2050.

It goes without a doubt that all sectors of society need to contribute equally to achieve the target that Sweden will have net zero atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest. In order to maintain this, the work of integrating climate policy will involve reviewing all relevant legislation to ensure that the climate policy framework has an impact. Furthermore, it will also involve the government, in connection with the next review of each societal objective, reformulating the objectives where necessary to ensure they are in line with the climate objectives, and conducting climate change impact assessments for the proposals in the relevant areas.

This is reinforced by the Presentation of the new updated Trade and Investment Strategy for more jobs throughout the country in December 2019. Exports drive the Swedish economy and keep around 1.5 million people in employment. To continue to strengthen Swedish exports, the government has launched an updated Strategy to create jobs and growth throughout the country.

The five strategic goals of the new strategy are highlighted below:

1. Increase Sweden’s exports.
2. Ensure that more small and medium-sized enterprises export, as well as larger-scale businesses.
3. Ensure that Sweden is a driving force for free, sustainable and equitable international trade.
4. Use Sweden’s innovation leadership to enhance the export capabilities and international competitiveness of Swedish business.
5. Increase Sweden’s attractiveness to foreign investors, skills, talent and visitors. (5)

Environment wise, this strategy will help ensure that Sweden meets the 2030 Agenda’s global goals for sustainable development and live up to the Paris Agreement. A stable climate is essential for Earth’s ecosystems and human welfare and the ministry of the environment is committed to making it happen.

 

References

1. https://www.government.se/press-releases/2019/12/a-coherent-policy-for-the-climate/
2. https://bioenergyinternational.com/policy/swedish-government-presents-its-first-climate-action-plan
3. https://www.government.se/press-releases/2020/01/sweden-signs-up-to-initiative-to-protect-30-per-cent-of-oceans-by-2030/
4. https://www.government.se/press-releases/2020/01/sweden-signs-up-to-initiative-to-protect-30-per-cent-of-oceans-by-2030/
5. https://www.government.se/press-releases/2019/12/presentation-of-the-new-updated-trade-and-investment-strategy-for-more-jobs-throughout-the-country/

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