Sweden has committed to completely phase out greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and called for all countries – including the US – to “step up and fulfill the Paris Agreement”.
In one of the most ambitious emissions plans published by a developed nation, the Swedish government has reaffirmed the urgency of tackling climate change, ignoring uncertainties about global policies under Donald Trump’s administration.
“Our target is to be an entirely fossil-fuel-free welfare state,” said Climate Minister Isabella Lovin.
“We see that the advantages of a climate-smart society are so huge, both when it comes to health, job creation and also security. Being dependent on fossil fuels and gas from Russia is not what we need now,” she added.
All parties but the far-right Sweden Democrats party agreed to pass the law in the coming month, which will oblige the government to set tougher goals to cut fossil fuel emissions every four years until the 2045 cut-off date.
Plans also include a 70 per cent cut to emissions in the domestic transport sector by 2030.
The Government said the target would require domestic emissions to be cut by at least 85 per cent and the remaining emissions would be offset by planting trees or by sustainable investments abroad.
The law is expected to enter into force as early as 2018.
Britain has committed to cut its emissions by 57 per cent by 2032 but so far, the government is nowhere near on track to meet its goal and the latest report predicts the target would be missed by the equivalent of all the greenhouse gases currently produced by industry.
The Independent previously revealed the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, which was supposed to be published in March after being delayed twice, will no longer be made public by that deadline.
Activist group Client Earth is now considering legal action against the Government over its failure to come up with a plan to dramatically reduced fossil fuels and meet its target.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven criticised climate sceptics inside the Trump administration as “worrying”, since the US’ greenhouse gas emissions would affect everyone. He warned all countries need to “step up and fulfil the Paris Agreement.”
Mr Trump previously called climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and there are suggestions he will pull out of the legally-binding Paris Agreement.
Climate minister Ms Lovin urged European countries to take the lead in tackling climate change now “the US is not there anymore to lead”.
She warned climate sceptics were “really gaining power in the world” and that Sweden wanted to set an example of continued action to its international pledges.
Last year in Paris, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit temperature rise above 1990s industrial levels by 2C and work towards a 1.5C target.
The EU has set a target of an 80 to 95 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Meanwhile, China is “investing billions and billions of dollars in solar (…) it’s a game changer. Those that are still wanting to invest in fossil fuels will be ultimately the losers,” Ms Lovin warned.
This article was originally published by Independent in February, 2017.
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