Archive: Åsa Romson, Minister for Climate and the Environment, Deputy Prime Minister

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Investment in climate, energy and Sweden’s natural environment

Climate, environmental and energy initiatives in the Government’s budget proposal for 2015 include major investments in local climate action, renewable energy and protection of more marine and nature environments.

The Ministry of the Environment’s appropriation for 2015 includes a total of some SEK 9.9 billion in expenditure areas 20 and 21, and parts of 6 and 17, in the autumn Budget Bill. This is an increase of SEK 1.4 billion compared with last year’s appropriation of some SEK 8.5 billion.

- The new Government’s budget introduces clear investments in climate and environment that have long been awaited at both national and regional level. We are proud to present reforms that will unlock local and regional engagement in energy efficiency and climate-smart solutions. At the same time, we are making the necessary investments in biodiversity and the forests that our children will one day enjoy, says Minister for Climate and the Environment Åsa Romson.

A broad climate initiative

It is time to take responsibility. If the earth’s temperature continues to rise at the rate currently observed and predicted by scientists, it will have serious consequences for all life on the planet, including our own. The new Government will therefore act at both national and global level to take the lead is this work. Sweden will pave the way and show what is possible, while working to make what is possible a global reality.

As early as 2015, the Government wants to implement three important reforms in the budget, which were presented jointly with the Left Party:

1. Investments to reduce local authority climate emissions
To reduce Sweden’s climate impact, the Government proposes special economic support for local climate investments beginning in 2015. This support will amount to SEK 200 million during the first year, while the system is taking shape. The resources will subsequently be increased to SEK 600 million annually from 2016.

2. International climate cooperation
In 2015, the most important climate conference since Copenhagen will be held in Paris. The Government will now take increased responsibility for Sweden’s climate impact and proposes to increase the contribution to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) by SEK 4 billion ahead of Paris 2015. Increased climate funding to developing countries and climate action within the framework of development assistance are fundamental to Sweden’s and the EU’s credibility in the climate negotiations.

3. Climate adaptation and extreme weather
This past summer we clearly saw the type of weather and problems that accompany climate change, even for those of us who live in Sweden. Weeks of abnormal heat were followed by one of the worst forest fires ever to hit Sweden. The Government wants to enhance the adaptive capacity of Swedish society to climate change through increased investments. In 2015, the Government intends to invest SEK 200 million in climate change adaptation, of which SEK 150 million will strengthen local government prevention efforts (allocated by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB), and SEK 50 million will go to a permanent imitative to increase access to climate information and other knowledge and planning support activities for climate change adaptation.

Solar cells

State aid for investment in solar cells was introduced in 2009. There has been great interest in this and most of the SEK 210 million allocated for 2013–2016 has been used. The Government now proposes allocating an additional SEK 100 million annually for 2015–2018. This means both extending and strengthening the budget for this aid.

- From a climate perspective, it is good to produce electricity using solar cells, but even if the price of solar cells falls dramatically, it is still expensive. The aid is necessary to continue the introduction of solar power and to give electricity customers the opportunity to take a more active role, both as users and producers, says Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan.

Major budget appropriation to preserve forests and species

A clear increase in the level of ambition is necessary if we are to achieve the environmental quality objectives that cover biodiversity, the marine environment and water. The Government therefore proposes a major investment in the Swedish natural environment in the 2015 budget. SEK 640 million will be invested in 2015 to prevent harvesting forests worthy of protection and to protect marine environments. Beginning in 2016, SEK 590 million will be invested for these purposes. In addition, the Government proposes allocating SEK 350 million annually from 2015 to preserve species and improve management of protected nature sites, and SEK 75 million annually from 2015 for measures to improve the marine and water environment.

As part of building knowledge on biodiversity, the Government proposes increasing the appropriation to the Swedish Taxonomy Initiative and the Encyclopedia of the Swedish Flora and Fauna by SEK 15 million annually from 2015.

A commission on energy will be appointed

Energy policy is crucial to building a sustainable society, and employment in Sweden is completely dependent on good and reliable access to electricity at competitive prices. A commission on energy for cross-party discussions on energy policy will be appointed with the aim of creating a long-term sustainable energy agreement. The Government’s starting point in these talks will be that nuclear power is to be replaced by renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, and that Sweden, in the long term, is to have 100 per cent renewable energy.

Tax reduction for micro-producers of renewable electricity

The Government’s goal is that self-production of electricity is to be easy and profitable. To make it easier for private persons and companies to invest in the production of electricity from renewable energy sources for their own use, the Government proposes introducing a tax reduction for micro-producers of renewable electricity from 1 January 2015. The Government will monitor and evaluate the tax reduction and explore possibilities to simplify the procedure, make the self-production of electricity even easier for private persons, and allow more people, such as joint owners of renewable electricity, to benefit from the tax reduction.

Drinking water and chemicals

The Government’s ambition is to make a vigorous effort to increase the pace to achieve the environmental quality objectives, which requires major investments to make achieving the marine and water-related objectives possible. Environmental monitoring is a fundamental part of the efforts targeting the marine environment and water. Better monitoring of the state of the environment would improve the possibilities of detecting risks to health and environment in time. In all, the Government is proposing increased investments of SEK 75 million in 2015 and SEK 50 million from 2016 in increased and improved environmental monitoring, and in particular marine and water-related environmental monitoring.