Sweden proposes net-zero target including emissions from consumption

Sweden net zero

Sweden will be the first country in the world to set goals for how climate emissions from consumption will be reduced after the Environmental Objective Committee set out its latest net-zero targets.

The proposal hopes to reduce emissions from consumption to net-zero by 2045, with the new target written into the country’s Climate Act. The climate benefit from exports, it suggests, will increase by 55 per cent compared with 2010 levels.

More than half of the emissions caused by Swedish activity occur abroad and come from consumption. These include international flights and imports of goods and services. So far, those emissions have not been affected by Swedish climate goals, which only include emissions made within Sweden’s borders.

The committee proposed that the consumption target should be included in the climate policy framework, which means, among other things, each incumbent government, when it takes office, must present a plan for how climate targets are to be achieved.

“Powerful action is needed now, and it is important that all parties are behind the proposals. We have so little time left, as we saw in the latest IPCC report,” says Amanda Palmstierna, committee member and Member of the Swedish parliament (Riksdag). “This is the first goal of its kind in the world, signaling Sweden’s intent to lead the way and take responsibility for all of our emissions.”

Rickard Nordin, committee member and Member of the Riksdag, also emphasised the importance of all parties being behind the main proposals: “It guarantees that the next government will be able to take this further. A disputed issue has been how to manage the climate benefits that Swedish exports can lead to.”

The climate benefit is the difference in the carbon footprint of goods that have been produced in Sweden with fewer emissions compared to production in another country. The proposal sets a separate target for exports, with current estimates suggesting the climate benefit will increase by 55 per cent by 2045, compared with 2010.

“That we now set a goal for exports is important. For the Center Party, it has been a goal to highlight trade growth and competitiveness. Such a focus is crucial to achieving that goal and I think that is welcome,” said Nordin. “This is a breakthrough in climate policy. It is forward-looking and provides a growth focus that I think had been lacking before.”

The committee also presented proposals for two goals for aviation – one for domestic aviation and one for international aviation. It is proposed that domestic aviation be included in the target for domestic transport so that in the future that sector covers all modes of transport. At present, aviation is outside the transport sector.

In the case of international flights, emissions from the fuel refueled in Sweden must be included in the climate goal that already exists. Previously, aviation fuel had not been included.

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