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news on governance for sustainable development

Sweden ranked best of a bad lot
In this year's version of the "Climate Change Performance Index" published by German NGO Germanwatch, Sweden took fourth place. The index ranks the world's 57 top polluting nations by their efforts to cut GHG emissions. Last year Sweden came first. The poorer result this time does not, however, mean that anyone else has overtaken Sweden. Rather, Germanwatch has concluded that no country is doing enough to deserve a medal, and has therefore left the three top places empty. Denmark came in 10th, Norway 11th and Finland a dismal 48th.
Read more [30.12.08]

High-speed rail network for Sweden?
Swedish Infrastructure Minister Åsa Thorstensson has appointed Mr. Gunnar Malm to lead a feasibility study on the construction of a network of high-speed (> 250 km/h) rail links in Sweden. Mr. Malm, a former financial director of the Swedish State Railways and present CEO of Arlandabanan Infrastructure AB, is to report on whether such a network would be profitable, which lines should be given priority and how construction might be financed.
Read more (Swedish) [20.12.08]

Swedish GHG emissions fell by 2 % in 2007
According to figures released by the Swedish EPA, the country's GHG emissions - already among the lowest in the OECD area on a per capita basis, along with those of France and Switzerland - fell by 2 % from 2006 to 2007. At 65.4 million tons of CO2 equivalents, emissions were 9.1 % lower than in 1990. Sweden is thus clearly set to overachieve not only its obligation under the Kyoto Protocol and EU burden-sharing agreement, but also the more ambitious national target of a 4 % reduction from 1990-2010. Continuing substitution of bioenergy for oil in district heating plants explains most of last year's improvement.
Read more (Swedish - with link to inventory report in English) [13.12.08]

Easier to develop Swedish wind power in future?
The Swedish Energy Agency has proposed a package of measures designed to reduce the amount of red tape potential developers of wind power must overcome. The changes would include simplified rules for environmental assessments, waiving the requirement that developers must propose alternative sites, and simpler rules for establishing grid connections. Also included in the package are proposals to make more resources available for such connections and removing provisions in the tax system that present a hurdle to the establishment of windpower co-operatives.
Read more (Swedish)
"No big role for natural gas in Sweden"
A study of European and Swedish gas markets, commissioned by the Swedish Energy Agency, puts the non-development of any major natural gas infrastructure in Sweden down to the fact that the Swedish energy market from the 1960s to the 1980s functioned better than in most other European countries. Such a development would not have been profitable, according to the study. Although a limited gas network, based on imports from Denmark, was built in the southwestern corner of the country around 1990, natural gas still covers only 2 % of Swedish energy use. Despite the possibility of new pipelines from Russian and/or Norwegian gas fields passing over or close to Swedish territory, the study sees no likelihood of a major increase in Swedish consumption.
Read more (Swedish)
"Halve energy use - maintain welfare"
According to a recent study by energy consultants SWECO for the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen), the country could more than halve its energy consumption by 2030 while maintaining living standards. The Societyalso commissioned a separate study on political measures to achieve such a target, which was carried out by another consultancy, FourFact. They recommended a market for energy efficiency measures ("white certificates" to complement the "green certificates" for renewable energy), tighter building codes, better enery labelling of appliances and a restructuring of electricity tariffs to make cost directly proportional to consumption.
Read more (Swedish)
Widening circle of Swedish organisations demand 40 % emissions cut
Almost one year ago, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) demanded a 40 % reduction in the country's GHG emissions by 2020 (story of 30.11.07). This is now the objective of a joint campaign by the SSNC, the Swedish UN Association and the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden. Some of Sweden's largest trades unions, as well as major enterprises and 23.000 individuals, have already signed a petition supporting their proposal.
Read more (Swedish)
Sweden ups spending for climate research
The Swedish Govenment has announced a proposal to spend an additional SEK 500 million (€ 50 mn) on climate-related research over the 2009-2012 period. Most of the money will be devoted to research on nergy technology, with smaller additional sums for climate modelling, research on the impacts of climate change and into sustainable mangagement of natural resources.
Read more (Swedish)
Swedish motorists, environmentalists join forces over emission standards
Motorists' organisations are not generally known for taking the environmental vanguard, but the largest such organisation in Sweden - Motormännen - has joined forces with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in demanding that the Government fight to prevent the EU from backing down on proposed CO2 emissions standards. The EU Commission's proposal to limit average emissions from new cars to 130 g CO2/km by 2012 has run into stiff resistance from lobbyists. The position taken by Swedish motorists is all the more interesting as they currently drive Europe's most polluting cars (story of 29 August).
Read more (Swedish)
Sweden to spend SEK 417 bn on transport infrastructure
The Swedish Government has presented a Bill on transport infrastructure to Parliament, in which it proposes to spend SEK 417 bn (about € 43 bn) on transport infrastructure over the 2010-2021 period. This would include SEK 136 bn for roads and SEK 64 bn for railways, with the remainder reserved for projects not yet specified by mode of transport. The Government itself claims that the Bill "sets user needs (i.e. those of businesses and travellers) first", and although reducing GHG emissions also figures on the list of objectives, it appears to have much lower priority. The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, the country's largest environmental NGO, claims that adopting the Bill would simply "short-circuit Swedish climate policy".
Read more (Swedish)
Swedish Budget: Foreign aid and RD & D get most new climate funding
The Swedish Government's proposed budget for 2009 allocates 4 billion SEK (€ 420 million) over the 2009-2011 period to climate-related measures within the development aid budget, and a further 670 million SEK to projects covered by the Kyoto Prtotcol's flexible mechanisms, particularly CDM. Of domestic outlays, 1.2 bilion SEK will go to developmemt and demonstration projects related especially to second generation biofuels, biogas and solar energy, and 584 million SEK to research on adaptation to climate change. Funding for municipal energy advisors will continue, but the KLIMP programme through which central government funding was provided for sustainable energy projects at the local level will be discontinued, as previously announced.
Read more (Swedish)
Despite improvement, Swedes still buy Europe's worst gas guzzlers
According to a survey by the European Federation for Transport and Environment, covering 18 EU countries, the average CO2 emissions of new petrol and diesel cars sold in Sweden fell by 3.8 % from 2006 to 2007 - the biggest improvement in any of the countries surveyed. Nevertheless, their emissions - at 180 g CO2/km in 2007 compared with an EU average of 158 - were still the highest of all. New Finnish cars were next worst, at 176 g CO2/km, whereas those sold in Denmark were close to the EU average. So were those from new cars in Norway, which was not included in the survey but where average emissions dropped by a full 10 % from 2006-2007, following a realignment of car taxes to favour those with lower emissions.
Read more
Sweden set to export more power
In its latest short-term projections, the Swedish Energy Agency expects the country to be a net exporter of electricity in all of the years 2008-2010, and that net exports will reach 7 TWh - equal to 4.5 % of electricity production. Consumption of electricity in Sweden is now fairly stable, whereas production from wind power and CHP based on bioenergy is growing apace. Wind power alone is expected to grow from 1.4 TWh i 2007 to 3.4 TWh in 2010. Also, technical improvements at the country's three nuclear plants (with a total of 10 reactors) are still leading to slight increases in their output, although there are no plans to build new ones. No expansion of hydropower is expected.
Read more (Swedish)
Stockholm Council proposes deep emissions cuts
The centre-right majority on Stockholm City Council has proposed a target of reducing the city's per capita GHG emissions from four to three tons per capita within a mere seven years, i.e. within 2015. (This refers to direct emissions, which are considerably less than the Swedish average, since few industrial enterprises are located in the city.) The target would be achieved through a mix of reductions in car traffic, more low emission vehicles, improved energy efficiency in buildings and lifestyle changes. The Opposition parties on the council are not satisfied, and want to examine the feasibility of halving emissions to two tons per capita.
Read more (Swedish)
Praise for Swedish energy policies
In a report on Swedish energy policies, the Interantional Energy Agency (IEA) praises the country as one of those which have done the most to promote energy efficiency and renewables. However, the IEA (like many Swedish politicians) doubts that Sweden will be able to meet future climate goals without keeping its nuclear power plants, and saying that nuclear policy needs to be "clarified". Also, the agency recommends a stronger focus on the transport sector - whoch produces the largest share of Sweden's GHG emissions - in future policymaking.
Read more
"Green" cars still increasing market share in Sweden
The growing international controversy over the use of agricultural biofuels to power vehicles has apparetly not dampened Swedes' appetite. "Green" cars - which include electric, hybrid and biogas-driven vehicles, but most of which run either on ethanol or biodiesel - reached a market share of 29.5 % in the first quarter of 2008, over twice as much as in the same period last year. In the city of Trollhättan they now make up over half of all new car sales.
Read more
"Green" cars still increasing market share in Sweden
The growing international controversy over the use of agricultural biofuels to power vehicles has apparetly not dampened Swedes' appetite. "Green" cars - which include electric, hybrid and biogas-driven vehicles, but most of which run either on ethanol or biodiesel - reached a market share of 29.5 % in the first quarter of 2008, over twice as much as in the same period last year. In the city of Trollhättan they now make up over half of all new car sales.
Read more
Potential windpower sites identified in Sweden
A study by the Swedish Energy Agency has identified sites "of national interest" for coming windpower developments, including upland areas in the interior of the country as well as coastal sites. According to the Agency, they have the potential to deliver 20 TWh of electricity a year, or enough to supply all households in Sweden (not counting electricity used for residential heating). The potential for offshore wind power developments is not included in the figure.
Read more (Swedish)
Trollhättan named most climate friendly in Sweden
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SNF) has just published a ranking of the country's municipalities accoording to the strength of their efforts to protect the climate. The cities of Trollhättan (pop. 50.000) tops the ranking, followed by two smaller towns. Lidköping and Olofström. The ranking is based on a survey to which 209 of the country's 290 municipalities responded. 57 % of them had adopted specific targets for greenhouse gas reductions. Trollhättan, well known for its biogas-fuelled buses and cars, got particularly high marks in the field of transport.
Read more (Swedish)
EU "should start planning 30 % emission cut now"
Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren says that the EU should draw up substantive plans to show how it could cut GHG emissions by 30 % within 2020. So far the EU has only committed itself to a reduction of 20 %, and made a possible 30 % target dependent on other countries' commitments. However, Carlgren's view is that by having plans for deeper cuts ready, the EU would strengthen its leadership role and negotiating position ahead of the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit.

Read more (Swedish)
Swedish "eco-car" subsidy costlier than expected
The subsidy of SEK 10.000 (€ 1050) for buyers of zero or low emission vehicles that was introduced by the Swedish Government on 1 April last year, has become a runaway success, perhaps unless you ask the Ministry of Finance. While SEK 250 million was set aside for the scheme over three years, sales of "eco-cars" are soaring to the extent that the real cost may top SEK 1.4 billion this year. 45.000 of the vehicles were sold in the nine months the scheme was operative in 2007, and dealers expect to sell another 100.000 in 2008.
Read more
Carlgren welcomes proposals for deeper cuts in emissions
On 18 February, a Commision on climate policy appointed by the Swedish Government last year delivered its report to Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren. The report recommends a large package of measures, including higher fuel taxes, targeted investments in cutting-edge tecnologies and in infrastrucure such as railways, and that Sweden should press for significant reductions in the EU ceiling on CO2 allowances beyond 2012. Although it refrains from explicitly proposing a new target for GHG emissions by 2020, its sums suggest that the proposed measures would add up to a reduction of 38 % from 1990 levels. Quoting this figure, Mr. Carlgren said he expected to present a White Paper "in line with the Commision's recommendations" later this year.

Read more (Swedish)
Sweden, Norway to co-operate with Asian giants
During a visit to New Delhi, Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren has announced that his country will open an energy and environment office in the Indian capital, to facilitate contacts between Swedish companies and Indian counterparts. State-level co-operation on environmental technology is also to be stepped up. Only a week previously, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre signed an agreement in Beijing under which China and Norway will strengthen co-operation on climate change issues, including renewable energy and carbon capture and storage.
Swedish press release - Norwegian press release
Swedes, Danes see new export opportunities
Growing interest in biogas, waste-for-energy plants and ethanol in the USA could provide Sweden with major new export opportunities, according to a series of reports just published by the Swedish Export Council, the Swedish Energy Agency and the business association Swentec. Swedish companies have gained a lot of experience with these technologies while they have languished for lack of support in the US. Meanwhile, a new Danish study suggests that that country, already the world's leading exporter of wind turbines, also has a big potential to increase exports of equipment for energy conservation.
Swedish Energy Agency (article in Swedish, reports in English) - Copenhagen Post article (English)
Scandinavians rate Sweden the greenest
A poll among Danes, Norwegians and Swedes shows that Sweden, across 3000 respondents from the three countries, has by far the best environmental image. Norway came in a poor second and Denmark last. The poll was commissioned by the Norwegian daily Dagsavisen, which also asked leading Norwegian and Swedish environmentalists for comments. The leader of the Norwegian Society for Nature Conservation was less surprised by Sweden's victory than the fact that Norway beat Denmark, while his Swedish counterpart commented that Norway was "sleeping on a pillow of oil" while Sweden was actually reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. No Danes were quoted.
Read more
Swedish GHG emissions go on down
According to figures just released by the Swedish EPA, Sweden's greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 were 1.7 % lower than the year before, and 8.7 % below the 1990 level. The country, which is already near the bottom of the OECD league for per capita emissions, thus seems set to exceed its own target of a 4 % reduction by 2008-2012. Not just emissions from stationary combustion, but also those from domestic aviation and navigation dropped in 2006, while those from road traffic rose just marginally.
Read more (Swedish)
Sweden tops global climate protection ranking
According to a ranking just published by the German NGO Germanwatch, Sweden is the most climate-friendly of the 56 countries in the world with the largest absolute GHG emissions. Iceland comes third, Norway 16th, Denmark 17th and Finland a rather poor 36th. The ranking is based on an index combining current per capita emissions, trends since 1990 and an assessment of climate policy. Germanwatch points out that the first component favours countries with large renewable energy resources in relation to population. This is especially true of Iceland and Norway, and to a slightly lesser degree of Sweden.
Read more
More wind power recommended for Sweden
In a report to the Government, the Swedish Energy Agency has recommended that its planning goal for wind power generation should be raised to 30 annual terawatt hours by 2020 - 20 times more than today. The Agency proposes that 2/3 of this capacity should be provided by onshore and 1/3 by offshore wind farms. The latter would have to be subsidised, while the formercould be secured simply by increasing the share of electricity that utilities are required to obtain from "green" sources.
Read more (Swedish)
"Slash emissions by 40 % by 2020"
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), the largest environmental NGO in the country, claims that Swedish GHG emissions must be cut by 40 % from 1990 levels within 2020. SSNC has just published a set of proposals to achieve this goal. They include increasing the CO2 tax on vehicle fuels by some 3 Eurocents per litre every year, on top of an immediate and hefty increase in the energy tax on diesel oil, and cutting emissions permits for industry at 60 % of 1990 emissions by the 2018-2022 period. According to SSNC, Swedish authorities have so far pussyfooted on emissions permits due to exaggerated estimates of "business-as-usual" emissions.
Read more (Swedish)
Energy use steady in Sweden
According to figures just released by the Swedish Energy Agency, primary energy consumption in Sweden dropped by 2 % in 2006, to 625 TWh compared with 639 TWh in 2005. However, this was mainly due to the replacement of some nuclear generation with imported electricity, and a consequent drop in losses associated with nuclear generation. Final consumption was largely unchanged and came in at the same level as in 1996. Consumption in industry and transport has grown over the past decade, while residential and commercial consumption have fallen.
Download report: "Energy in Sweden - Facts and Figures 2007"
Climate awareness high and rising in Sweden
According to a poll commissioned by the Swedish EPA, 97 % of Swedes now believe that the country already is or will be affected by climate change. 76 % think it "very important" to act on the issue and 81 % think they themselves can do something, compared to 69 % and 73 % respectively one year ago. 84 % claim to be "definitely willing" to buy more efficient appliances, 58 % to lower indoor temperatures and 53 % to drive less.
Read more (Swedish)
Sweden to co-operate with China on renewable energy
During a visit to China by Swedish Minister of Enterprise and Energy Maud Olofsson, the two countries have signed an agreement on co-operation in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Ms Olofsson pointed out that Sweden had demonstrated that economic growth could be achieved while reducing GHG emissions, and hopes that the agreement will be of benefit to both countries.
Press release (Swedish)
Climate labelling of food proposed in Sweden
The Swedish Ministry for the Environment is negotiating with representatives of the food industry over a proposal to introduce mandatory climate labelling. The scheme would force suppliers to provide information to consumers about the greenhouse gas intensity of their products. According to the Ministry, food is responsible for some 20 % of Swedish GHG emissions.
Read more
Big potential for electricity savings in Swedish schools
A study just released by the Swedish Energy Agency shows that use of electricity for purposes other than heating varies widely between schools in the country, with some using as little as 30 kWh/m2 and others 140 kWh/m2. Most of this is for lighting or ventilation, yet there is no significant correlation between energy use for ventilation and air quality, and actually a negative correlation between lighting energy and lighting quality. At least half of the electricity could be saved through better lighting fixtures and control of ventilation. In Denmark, where electricity is dearer than in Sweden, schools use only 23 kWh/m2 compared to the Swdedish average of 61 kWh/m2. In Norway, where it is cheaper, they use about 90 kWh/m2, not counting heating.
Download report (Swedish)
Sweden raises taxes on vehicle fuels
In its budget proposal for 2008, the Swedish Government has announced tax increases of SEK 0.55 and 0.29 respectively (about six and three Eurocents) per litre on diesel oil and petrol. It thus follows in the footsteps of the Finnish Government - and also of its own Social Democratic predecessor, whose policy of green tax reform (shifting taxes from labour to energy and emissions) Finance Minister Anders Borg had declared that he would suspend on taking office last year.
Read more
Swedish Government announces new package of climate measures
The Swedish Enterprise, Environment and Agriculture Ministers have jointly announced a package of new measures over the 2008-2010 period to reduce GHG emissions. Total funding will amount to SEK 1 billion (€ 105 million). The largest sums will be allocated to development of second generation biofuels, energy efficiency initiatives and a "programme for sustainable cities and communities".
Read more
Sweden "must cut GHG emissions by 70-85 %"
An expert committee of scientists, which was appointed to advise the Government on climate policy in preparation for a White Paper which it is to deliver next spring, presented its report on 3 September. Although Sweden's per capita greenhouse gas emissions are already among the lowest in Europe, the scientists say the country must cut them by between 70 and 85 % within 2050 if it wants to act as a responsible member of the global community. The full report is available for download in Swedish.
Read more (Swedish)
Swedish Railways booming
The Swedish State Railways (SJ) are looking for 1000 new employees following strong growth in goods and passenger traffic, turnover and profits. Turnover grew by 30 % and profits by 63 % from the second quarter of 2006 to the same period this year. SJ now claim to be stealing market share from airlines.

Read more - SJ press release (Swedish)
Swedish municipalities show strong interest in sustainable energy programme
Since 2003, the Swedish Energy Agency has co-operated with five municipalities on a "Sustainable Municipalities" programme, designed to show how municipalities could improve their communities' energy efficiency and reduce their GHG emissions. Now the Energy Agency has announced that the programme will be expanded to cover a further 20 of the 290 municipalities in Sweden. 62 municipalities have applied and are thus competing for a place among the next 20.

Read more (Swedish)
Swedish Energy Authority expects power surplus
According to short-term projections recently issued by the Swedish Energy Agency, the country will have an exportable surplus of electricity in all of the years 2007-2009. Most of Sweden's electricity production comes from hydro and nuclear power, in roughly equal proportions. However, the Energy Agency expects wind power production to double by 2009, and CHP production (mainly based on bioenergy) also to increase. Provided hydro and nuclear production are at normal levels, there will be more than enough electricity for Swedish needs.

Read more (Swedish)
EU cuts Swedish emissions cap by 8.4 % - Carlgren not complaining
The EU Commission has decided to set Sweden's annual CO2 allowance for the 2008-2012 period at 22.8 million tons, a cut of 9.5 % in relation to Sweden's original propossal and of 8.4 % from an amended one. Swedish Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren (picture) says that his country would accept the decision, adding that he had previously come out in favour of a restrictive cap-setting policy by the Commission.

Read more (Swedish) - EU press release (English)
Congestion charges get green light in Stockholm
Congestion charges will be introduced on a permanent basis in Stockholm from 1 August this year, following a decision by the Swedish Parliament on June 20. This follows a highly successful trial in the first half of 2006, which reduced rush-hour traffic in the capital by a quarter, and a subsequent referendum in which a majority of Stockholm residents voted to keep the scheme in place.

Read more
Carlgren claims success for Environment Ministers' climate meeting
Environment Ministers from 28 countries gathered at Riksgränsen in northern Sweden from June 11-14 for an informal meeting to discuss climate issues. According to the host, Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, the meeting made "important progress" in preparation for the official UN conference in Bali later this year. The ministers especially emphasised the importance of halting deforestation.
Read more
Sustainable energy use "should be overarching environmental goal" in Sweden
In 1999, the Swedish Parliament adopted a set of 15 (later expanded to 16) "environmetal objectives", which have since been a focus of environmental policymaking and reporting. These are now up for revision through a coming White Paper. The Swedish Energy Authority claims that the current set of objectives does not address the consequences of energy use coherently, and that energy use should therefore be identified as an "overarching" issue in a new set of objectives.
Read more (Swedish)
Government, business agree to promote sustainable building in Sweden
On May 22, Minister for the Environment Andreas Carlgren signed an agreement with 40 major actors, including construction companies, property developers and some of Sweden's largest cities. They have jointly undertaken to promote sustainable construction and use of buildings, which currently consume 40 % of all the energy used in Sweden. The Government's contribution includes funding for information and communication activities as well as RD & D. The agreement represents an extension and expansion of a programme initiated in 1998.
Read more (Swedish)
"Don't reduce consumption to save climate", says Treschow
Michael Treschow, former CEO of Electrolux, outgoing chairman of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise and incoming chairman of Unilever, is worried over the calls to reduce consumption in order to avoid global warming. People must have faith in technological solutions, according to Treschow. A lively debate om whether technology can do the trick or whether belt-tightening is required is going on in several Nordic countries.
Read more
Vattenfall power plants emit more CO2 than all of Sweden
Vattenfall, Sweden's state-owned energy company, figures prominently on the "Dirty Thirty" list of Europe's most polluting power plants, newly released by WWF International. Four of the 16 plants that emit the most CO2 are owned by Vattenfall. All four are located in Germany and burn lignite. According to WWF, their combined emissions amount to 63.8 million tons per year. Sweden's own GHG emissions in 2005 were 67 million tons, including 55.6 million tons of CO2.
Read more
60 % of Swedes worry about climate change
Over 60 % of Swedes are worried about climate change, according to a recent survey by the SIFO institute. One-fifth are "very worried". Young men are the least concerned, with three-fifths of the 15-29 age group saying they are not particularly worried.
Read more
Vattenfall's coal power plans met with demonstrations
Participants at Vattenfall's annual general meeting in Stockholm on 25 April were met by demonstrators from Greenpeace and with protests from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation against their plans to build two large coal-fired power plants in Germany. Vattenfall has defended its plans by coupling them with its work on carbon capture and storage (CCS). The evironmental groups want them shelved until CCS is actually ready to deploy.
Read more (Swedish)
Parliamentary Commission to review Swedish climate policy
The Swedish Minister for the Environment, Anders Carlgren, yesterday announced the appointment of a Parliamentary Commission, including one representative from each party in Parliament plus an independent chairperson, to review Swedish climate policy. The Commision is to propose targets for reductions in national GHG emissions by 2020 and 2050 as well as for the use of flexible mechanisms. It is to report by 15 January next year.

Read more (Swedish)
Sweden offers bonus to buyers of low-emission cars
Buyers of low-emission vehicles in Sweden will receive a subsidy of SEK 10.000 (€ 1050) starting on April 1, the Government has announced. The scheme will stay in place until the end of 2009 and will cover cars that use less than 5 litres of petrol per 100 km, as well as those running on alternative fuels such as ethanol or biogas. Until now, Swedish petrol and diesel cars have been the least fuel-efficient in Europe (story of 16 March).

Read more
Swedish energy use projected to increase
Energy use in Sweden will grow by 16 % over the 2005-2025 period, according to a new projection by the Swedish Energy Authority. Growth will be particularly strong in the transport sector, followed by industry, while households are not expected to use more energy. This is a business-as-usual scenario, assuming that no new policies to limit energy use will be introduced, that no nuclear reactors will be phased out and that CO2 allowances will cost € 25 per tonne over the whole period.

Read more (Swedish)
Swedish cars guzzle gas
Sweden is a European leader in biofuels (picture), but the rest of the car fleet is far less green. The average petrol or diesel car sold in Sweden in 2006 burns 7.8 litres of fuel per 100 km - the highest figure of all the EU-15 countries. The EU-15 average was already down to 6.5 litrssses in 2004. Finnish and Norwegian cars also tend to use more fuel than the European average, while Danish vehicles are close to average.

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Swedish PM presents Commission on Sustainable Development
The members of the new Swedish Commission on Sustainable Development, which will focus on climate change issues, were announced on 7 March. The Commission will be headed by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, and will also include the Environment and Finance Ministers. Other members include the CEOs of Volvo and Vattenfall, more businesspeople, academics and the chairman of WWF Sweden. A controversial appointment is Professor Bengt Kriström, who has said that climate change should be low on the list of global priorities.

Press release (Swedish)
City of Växjö awarded sustainable energy prize
The City of Växjö (pop. 80.000) in southern Sweden has been awarded the Sustainable Energy Europe prize for 2007. In 1993, the Växjö City Council set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50 % within 2010. By 2005, they had been cut by 24 %, through a range of measures including bioenergy-based district heating, energy efficiency measures, solar water heating and biofuel vehicles. Through additional measures over the next few years, the city still hopes to achieve its 50 % target.

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Swedish ex-PM honoured for climate efforts
The Swedish Prime Minister from 1996-2006, Göran Persson, has been awarded the Norwegian Sophie Prize for his efforts to combat global warming. During his tenure, Swedish GHG emissions were cut by 13.5 %, ambitious targets were set for further reductions and Sweden became a leader in the biofuels area. The Sophie prize is awarded for " pointing to alternatives to the present development and putting such alternatives into practice".

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Swedish envirotech sales top SEK 100 bn
Swedish companies sold environmental technology products for 102 billion SEK (€ 11 bn) in 2005, according to figures newly released by the Swedish Environmental Technology Council (Swentec) and Statistics Sweden. Exports totalled SEK 24 bn, but Swentec think the potential is much larger. Sales were up 36 % in two years. Products related to bioenergy are spearheading the growth.

Press release (Swedish)
Carlgren wants bigger rôle for UNEP
Speaking at UNEP's annual meeting in Nairobi this week, Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren called for UNEP to be upgraded to a UN agency and to play a bigger part in co-ordinating global efforts, especially in the area of climate change. Carlgren wants to see more co-operation between UNEP and the private sector and less earmarking of national contributions, to give the UN body a freer hand.

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Swedish Energy Authority to fund CDM project in China
The Swedish Energy Authority has announced that it will fund a wind farm as well as an energy conservation project in China's Gansu Province, on the edge of the Gobi Desert. The project will reduce CO2 emissions over the 2008-12 period by 850.000 tons. The Energy Authority will be awarded credits for 10 % of this.

Read more (Swedish)
Swedish Sustainability Council to be abolished
The Swedish Ministry of Environment has announced that the Sustainability Council (Hållbarhetsrådet) and its secretariat in Umeå are to be wound up during the spring. The Council was established two years ago to assist local and regional authorities and organisations in their work towards sustainable development, among other things by promoting networking and exchange of experiences. The new Government has chosen instead to give priority to the work of its new Commission on Sustainable Development (see story of December 21).

Press release (Swedish)
Swedish environmentalists propose 10-point climate action plan
The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) has proposed a 10-point programme to reduce the county's greenhouse gas emissions. Among the proposals are a system of tradeable quotas for vehicle fuels and "white certificates" for negawatts - i.e. efficiency measures - to complement the green certificates for renewable electricity. Several of the other proposals call for shifting more of the tax burden on to emissions and unsustainable consumption. SSNC is Sweden's largest environmental organization with a membership of some 140,000.

Read more (Swedish)
Swedish PM to head new Commission on Sustainable Development
The new Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, today announced the establishment of a new Commission on Sustainable Development. The Commission will be chaired by the Prime Minister himself, with Minister for the Envirinment Andreas Carlgren as deputy chair. Other members will include businesspeople, researchers and representatives of independent organisations as well as the authorities. The main focus of the Commission's work will be climate change and how to combine sustainable development with economic growth and technological innovation.

Press release (Swedish)
Centre-Right Government takes over in Sweden
At the Swedish elections on September 17, the four "Alliance" parties gained a majority of 8 in the 349-member Swedish Parliament, defeating the Social Democrats and their two supporting parties, the Greens and the Left Party. Prime Minister Göran Persson therefore resigned and a new Government was formed on 6 October by Fredrik Reinfeldt, leader of the Moderate (Conservative) Party.

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Companies urged not to use recycled tyres in football fields
The world football championship is rolling on, with Sweden as the Nordic representative; but are football fields with artificial turf full of dangerous chemicals?

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Sweden presents energy policy
The Swedish Ministry of Sustainable Development has published a fact sheet that lines out in an abbreviated form the total energy policy of the Swedish Government.

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Sweden ups funding for greener energy
The Swedish government last week presented its spring budget, with a nice surpise for those interested in greener energy: Extra funding for green energy amounting to 500 million SEK per year in 2007-8 (53.6 mill euros).

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High ambitions on renewable electricity
In new draft legislation, Sweden raises ambitions on renewable electricity and signals a prolongation of the green certificate system to 2030.
read more

More on energy policy | Press release [28.03.06]

Sweden will break the dependence of oil!
In an article in "Dagens Nyheter" the Minister of sustainable development Mona Sahlin introduces a new policy programme with the aim to make Sweden free of fossil fuels by 2020. - Climate change is the greatest and most important environmental challenge of our time. Most of the world's climate researchers agree that the Earth's climate s ystem is changing, and in order to slow down these changes, emissions of greenhouse gases must be reduced, writes Mona Sahlin. As the price of oil has tripled since 1996, the advantages will also be of economical art. More... [10.10.05]

The budget for 2006: More money for research on renewable energy
- More money for renewable energy is necessary to show that we are serious with our ambitions on transforming Sweden into a sustainable society, says the Minister of s ustainable development, Mona Sahlin, in a press release. The Governments budget for 2006 shows a proactive environmental policy. Among the promises is 815 million SEK for research on renewable energy. The green taxes will increase in most areas, and from May 2006 a tax on air tickets will be introduced. More... (In Swedish) [23.09.05]

Swedens environmental objectives - new report focus on the environment for the next generation
The Environmental Objectives Council was set up by the Government of Sweden to coordinate and monitor efforts to implement the fifteen environmental quality objectives adopted by the Swedish Parliament in 1999. This years progress report: "Sweden´s environmental objectives - for the sake of our children", has a particular focus on the environment in which the children live. Children are more susceptible than adults to environmental problems. More... [25.08.05]

Research to promote sustainable development
Mistra, the Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research, has decided to invest SEK 128 million in five major research programmes to promote sustainable development. The programmes concern new thinking in such diverse areas as asset management, transport, the forest landscape, vehicle engines and natural pesticides. Mistra funds and organises research aimed at solving strategic environmental problems. Mistra`s board and chairman is appointed by the Government. [07.07.05]

New Brochure about the Swedish Ministry of Sustainable Development
The brochure "This is the Ministry of Sustainable development" is a good introduction to the dimension and work of the Ministry. The Ministry is responsible for issues relating to energy and climate, housing and construction, chemicals, eco cycles, nature conservation, the environmental quality objectives and for coordinating government work to promote sustainable development. More... [16.06.05]

Environmental Objectives Bill - key new initiatives and actions in brief
In the Bill "Swedish Environmental Objectives - a shared task" the Government makes an in-depth evaluation of work to solve the major environmental problems in society within a generation. It proposes measures and initiatives for further work to achieve the objects.The Government concludes that five of the objects will be very hard to achieve. EU cooperation is emphasized as crucial to succeed in the environmental field. More... (In Swedish) [20.05.05]

New Council for sustainable development
The Swedish Council for Sustainable Development is to become a driving force for local and regional work towards sustainable development. The council will stimulate cooperation, encourage public discussion on sustainable development and communicate experiences and best practice. During the first half of 2005, it is developing a proposal for a long-term action plan.
- Our premises for involving more agents and develop the methods in the work on sustainable development are increasing with the new council, says Mona Sahlin, Minister of sustainable development.More... (In Swedish) [06.05.05]

New Environment Technology Council
In April 2005 the Government decided to set up the Swedish Environmental Technology Council (SWENTEC). The Council will have a role in coordinating overall public development programmes in the sector, covering everything from research and development to market introduction and export promotion. The Government has allocated EUR 1.1 million to the Council for first year of its operations. More... [06.05.05]

Nordic pioneers in environmental technology
At the ministerial meeting in Copenhagen, the Nordic Ministers of the Environment agreed to generate growth through co-operation on environmental technology and cleaner production systems. The Swedish minister Lena Sommestad, reported that Sweden is to set up a national environment technology council. More... [08.04.05]

SD Ministry from 1 January 2005
On 1 January 2005 the newly formed Ministry of Sustainable Development began operations. At the same time, the Ministry of the Environment ceased to exist. The Ministry of Sustainable Development takes over responsibility for environment issues from the Ministry of the Environment. Its additional areas of responsibility include energy issues, emissions trading, construction and housing, and responsibility for co-ordinating the Governments work on sustainable development. More... [02.01.2005]

Sweden leads world in sustainability survey
Sweden is the world’s best performer in environmental and social sustainability, according to a new report. More... [15.11.2004]