Sweden has set the target to have zero net emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by 2045, and thereafter to achieve negative emissions.
Sweden aims to become one of the world’s first fossil free welfare nations. All sectors of society shall contribute to the climate conversion, and climate policy will be integrated in all policy areas. This is based on the conviction that climate action is compatible with – and necessary for – sustainable development, increased welfare and competitiveness of our economy.
Our efforts to decrease emissions are done both nationally, by investing for the climate and working with Swedish industry and society at large, and by engaging in international cooperation for the climate.
In 2017, the Swedish Parliament decided by a large political majority to introduce a climate policy framework with a climate act for Sweden. This framework is our most important climate reform so far and sets out Sweden’s implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Sweden’s story so far
Sweden has a long history of climate policy and action. In 1991, we were one of the first countries to establish a carbon tax on fossil fuels. Swedish emissions of greenhouse gases are decreasing. In 2016, total emissions were 52,9 million tons COE, corresponding to 5,35 tons per capita, a decrease of 26% compared to 1990. During the same period, Sweden´s gross national product increased by over 60%.
Sweden has adopted the national goal to reach net zero climate emissions by 2045 at the latest, and thereafter to achieve negative emissions. Intermediary goals have been set with reductions of 40% by 2020, 63% by 2030 and 75% by 2040, compared to 1990. We also have a sector specific goal for domestic transports, exclusive of aviation, of reducing emissions with 70% by 2030.
As a member of the European Union, Sweden takes part in formulating and implementing EU’s climate policy. EU’s climate target is a reduction of at least 40% to 2030 compared to 1990, which is also what the EU has submitted as its NDC under the Paris Agreement (individual EU member states do not submit NDC:s). We are part of the European Union Emissions Trading System, EU ETS, a cornerstone of European climate policy and an important mechanism to achieve the target. Sweden argues for increased climate ambition in the EU.
Sweden’s action from 2018
A climate policy framework
The climate policy framework that Parliament decided upon in 2017 is comprised of the Swedish climate goals mentioned above, a climate act and an independent climate policy council.
The climate act went into effect on January 1st, 2018. The act stipulates that government’s climate policy must be based on the climate goals that parliament has decided on and regulates how the work is to be carried out. The government is required to present a climate report every year in its budget bill, and every fourth year, the government is required to draw up a climate policy action plan to describe how the climate goals are to be achieved. The climate act also stipulates that climate policy goals and budget policy goals must work together.
The climate policy council is an expert organisation tasked with supporting the government by providing an independent assessment of how the overall policy presented
by the government is compatible with the climate goals. The council evaluates whether the direction of various policy areas will increase or reduce the likelihood of achieving the climate goals.
Policies in key sectors
In addition to EU-measures and general measures, such as the carbon tax, a long range of policies and actions have been taken to facilitate emission reductions across the economy, and additional policies are being developed. Government presented a climate strategy to parliament in April 2018, describing actions taken and the way forward. A few of the more important sectors and policies to date are mentioned below.
Klimatklivet (“the Climate Leap”)
In order to facilitate climate action for reduced emissions, the Government in 2015 initiated Klimatklivet, a support program for local investments that reduce carbon emissions. All types of organisations, in all sectors except those covered by the ETS can apply for support. Examples of investments that are entitled to support are charging infrastructure for electrical vehicles, biogas plants and small-scale district heating systems. The budget for Klimatklivet is 1,7 billion Swedish crowns for 2018, increasing to more than 2 billion crowns yearly through 2023.
The transport sector will be decisive to reach the medium-term climate targets. Policies have been installed across the field, covering general measures, fuel efficient vehicles, renewable fuels and a transport efficient society. Recent actions include a quota system, requiring an increasing blending of renewable fuel in the fuel mix; an incentive-disincentive system for new cars, giving a subsidy to low-emitting and higher tax for high emitting vehicles; an electric vehicle subsidy, covering e.g. bicycles and mopeds; a financial support system for municipalities investments in public transport and bicycling infrastructure.
Heavy and process industries, such as steel, cement and the petrochemical industries, form a substantial part of Swedish emissions. The government has initiated the “Industrial Leap”, a long-term program that supports development of technologies and processes to reduce these emissions. Support can be given to the whole range of action from studies to large scale investment. The program is funded with 300 million Swedish crowns yearly, from 2018 to 2040. A project of interest is “Hybrit”, a new innovation program to develop and test a process for hydrogen reduction of steel.
A government inquiry has recently been set up to investigate and propose ways forward for negative emissions, including CCS, which may prove to be required over the longer term for some of the process-related emissions. The Swedish Energy Agency also supports different research projects regarding CCS.
Engaging with society- the Fossil Free Sweden Initiative
To reach our long-term climate targets, it is necessary that society at large takes part in the work to decrease emissions. Therefore, the government launched the initiative Fossil Free Sweden ahead of COP21, to gather stakeholders from all sectors of society who share the vision of Sweden being one of the world’s first fossil free welfare nations.
Today, more than 350 companies, municipalities, regions and organizations take part in the initiative. Responding to the new climate policy framework, Fossil Free Sweden has encouraged business industries to draw up their own roadmaps as to how they will be fossil free while also increasing their competitiveness. In the roadmaps, industries describe when and how they will be fossil free, what technological solutions and other solutions need to be developed and obstacles to removed. The roadmaps also include proposals for political solutions. The first nine roadmaps, including among other the steel, cement, heavy road haulage, forest and aviation industries, were presented to the government in April 2018.
International climate development cooperation
Supporting efforts to curb emissions and adapt to climate change also constitutes a highly prioritized area for Sweden’s development cooperation. For instance, Sweden is one of the largest donors to the Green Climate Fund, the Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Fund. We also promote the climate agenda in our cooperation with the multilateral development banks. A dedicated strategy for Sweden’s development cooperation in the fields of environment, climate and oceans has been developed, encompassing 6,5 billion Swedish crowns over the period 2018-2022.
Sweden’s key policies and actions
Sweden’s Climate Policy Framework
A Climate Strategy for Sweden – a Government bill to Parliament (in Swedish)
Swedish government climate initiatives, including the Climate Leap
The Fossil Free Sweden Initiative
Fossil free steel production – the Hybrit project
Organisation strategy for Sweden’s cooperation with the Green Climate Fund for 2016–2018