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"Serious" climate threat to Sweden

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17:25 CET+01:00
Climate change poses "serious and concrete" threats to Sweden, a government report presented on Wednesday shows.

Major lakes including Lake Mälaren, Lake Hjälmaren and Lake Vänern will flood more frequently and with more severe consequences. Autumn storms will become stronger and summers will get warmer, the report said.

"It is important that people don't panic - there is no reason to do that," said environment minister Andreas Carlgren."

But, he said "we will see the consequences here at home, and they will come sooner than many had perhaps believed."

Carlgren was presenting a report on flooding risks by Sweden's major lakes. It showed that vital public services in Stockholm would be threatened, and more than 3.5 million square metres of built-up land around Lakes Mälaren and Vänern could disappear under water.

The study proposed a number of measures to combat the risk, including draining excess water from the lakes. It also looked at effects including potential road flooding.

"A number of measures that protect us from the effects [of climate change] will need to be put in place, and we will do that step by step - but not in a panic," he said.

The environment and defence departments are bringing out a timetable for action, which Carlgren said would be implemented without delay. He added that for ordinary Swedes, there were a number of "quite sensible" measures that they could take:

"You shouldn't expect not to be able to drive a car, but you should take a look at the kind of car you have and change to an environmentally-friendly fuel as quickly as possible," he said.

"You can also demand of politicians that environmentally-friendly fuel is promoted."

"The same thing goes for energy saving in homes - when can you change your old oil tank?"

At a global level, radical measures are needed to combat the causes of climate change, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, Carlgren said. He argued that Sweden should be proactive and take a leading role in combating the greenhouse effect, and said he was therefore inviting foreign environment ministers to a meeting in Sweden next June.

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