Swifter action is needed to honour the Paris Agreement
Opinion piece by Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister.
Thanks to the Paris Agreement, the world is now working together to curb global warming, and right now the parties are gathered in Bonn, Germany to negotiate on how to implement the agreement. However, it is urgent that all countries significantly raise their ambitions and adapt long term policies for reducing carbon emissions. Otherwise we are likely to fail in meeting the Paris Agreement's ambitious goal of keeping the global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial level.
Sweden is the only country in the world that has adopted a goal of zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. A new law that binds future governments to this goal has also been adopted. In addition, this law also requires the government to present an annual climate report in its Budget Bill.
Sweden has long shown that it is possible to adapt ambitious climate policies while also enjoying good economic growth. Despite having the world's highest carbon tax for more than 20 years and an unusually strict climate policy, seen in an international perspective, Swedish companies are at the forefront and have retained and reinforced their international competitiveness. At national level we now see that since 1990, emissions in Sweden have decreased by 25 per cent while GDP has increased by 69 per cent. Just as in many other parts of the world, we see that the link between the curves for carbon emissions and increased GDP has been broken. A shining example is the development in the renewable energy industry, where we can see how a significant fall in price can be linked to a dramatic increase in employment and growth. Countries that remains dependent on fossil fuels risk lagging behind when the rest of the world continues on the path towards an efficient and climate-smart economy.
However, fossil fuel dependency still remains substantial in many parts of our society, not least in the transport sector and manufacturing industry. Transitioning these sectors is essential for curbing global warming, but requires sharp polices that drive the transition forward and include all actors within society. The Swedish climate law obliges governments to roll out sharp policies to end all emissions to 2045. It is also essential that rich countries assist developing countries in their efforts to reduce emissions and Sweden is a leading donor in climate development aid, both for mitigation and adaptation.
But despite the ongoing transition away from fossil fuels based economies, the global temperature continues to rise and in many places we are already witnessing the devastating effects of climate change. The world needs to scale up the climate work. We all need to do more. Countries, regions, cities and business now all need to move further, faster and step up together for the next generation.