The climate policy framework

On Thursday 15 June, the Riksdag took a decision on the introduction of a climate policy framework for Sweden containing new climate goals, a Climate Act and plans for a climate policy council. The purpose of the framework is to create a clear and coherent climate policy. The framework is based on an agreement within the Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives.

The climate policy framework is the most important climate reform in Sweden's history. It will provide the long-term conditions for business and society to implement the transition needed to solve the challenge of climate change. For the first time, Sweden will have an act stating that each government has an obligation to pursue a climate policy based on the climate goals adopted by the Riksdag. Each government must also clearly report on the progress of its efforts. For the first time, Sweden will have long-term climate goals beyond 2020 and an independent climate policy council that reviews climate policy. The reform is a key component of Sweden's efforts to comply with the Paris Agreement.

The pillars of the climate policy framework

The climate policy framework consists of three pillars: a Climate Act, climate goals and a climate policy council.

The Climate Act

  • The Climate Act establishes that the Government's climate policy must be based on the climate goals and specifies how work is to be carried out.
  • The Government is required to present a climate report every year in its Budget Bill.
  • Every fourth year, the Government is required to draw up a climate policy action plan for how the climate goals are to be achieved.
  • The new Climate Act will enter into force on 1 January 2018.

Climate goals

By 2045, Sweden will have net zero emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and should thereafter achieve negative emissions. Negative emissions mean that greenhouse gas emissions from activities in Sweden are less than, for example, the amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by nature as part of the ecocycle, or less than the emissions Sweden helps to reduce abroad by investing in various climate projects. However, the remaining emissions from activities on Swedish territory will be at least 85 per cent lower than in 1990.

Emissions in Sweden in the sectors that will be covered by the EU regulation on the division of responsibilities should, by 2030, be at least 63 per cent lower than emissions in 1990, and at least 75 per cent lower by 2040. The emissions covered are mainly from transport, machinery, small industrial and energy plants, housing and agriculture. These emissions are not included in the European Union Emissions Trading System, which covers most of the emissions from industry, electricity and district heating output, and flights departing from and arriving in the European Economic Area (EEA). In a similar way as for the long-term goal, parts of the goals may be achieved by 2030 and 2040 through supplementary measures, such as increased uptake of carbon dioxide by forests or by investing in various climate projects abroad. Such measures may be used to achieve a maximum of 8 and 2 percentage points respectively of the emission reduction goals by 2030 and 2040.

Emissions from domestic transport, excluding domestic aviation, will be reduced by at least 70 per cent by 2030 compared with 2010. The reason domestic aviation is not included in the goal is that domestic aviation is not included in the European Union Emissions Trading System.

Climate policy council

The third pillar of the framework is a climate policy council tasked with assisting the Government by providing an independent assessment of how the overall policy presented by the Government is compatible with the climate goals. The council will evaluate whether the direction of various relevant policy areas will increase or reduce the likelihood of achieving the climate goals.

Background

In its 2014 Statement of Government Policy, the Government announced that a climate policy framework would be introduced. On 18 December 2014, the Government tasked the Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives with proposing a climate policy framework and a climate strategy for Sweden. The Committee presented an agreement between the Social Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Moderate Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats (and in some parts the Left Party) containing a large number of proposals to tighten up climate policy in Sweden (SOU 2016:21 and SOU 2016:47). On 14 March 2017, the Government presented a bill on a climate policy framework, based on the proposals of the Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives. The Riksdag adopted the Climate Act and the new climate goals on 15 June.