King opens Riksdag with warning

King Carl XVI Gustaf opened Sweden's new parliament with a warning that action was needed to protect life on earth in the face of climate change.

The king made the comments after travelling in state from the Royal Palace to the Riksdag buildings on the island of Helgeandsholmen. He was accompanied by Queen Silvia, his three children Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philp, and his aunt Princess Lillian.

The Royal Family was met by the newly elected speaker, Per Westerberg, the three deputy speakers, and the outgoing prime minister, Göran Persson. Members of the Riksdag sang the royal anthem before Westerberg introduced the monarch.

The king used his speech to challenge the Riksdag to take action against global warming.

“One of the fateful questions for our generation is to clarify how our way of life affects the environment,” he said.

The king noted that Swedes had been enjoying an unusually warm late summer, but pointed to the fact that this could give rise to concern.

“Are we just experiencing a natural variation between cold and warm summers, or is it an effect of global warming. Many people have asked the same question after a number of terrible natural disasters around the workd in recent years,” he said.

The event was one of Göran Persson’s last official duties as prime minister – the speaker is expected to formally propose Fredrik Reinfeldt as his successor on Tuesday afternoon. The government will officially change hands at a council chaired by the king in the Royal Palace on Friday.