Sweden takes EU lead on carbon emissions

Sweden plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020, bettering the EU's proposal to cut emissions by at least 20 percent, Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren said on Tuesday.

“Sweden and the present government have been pushing for the 30 percent target in the EU. We were the only government sticking to the proposal throughout the process,” Carlgren told Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet in an interview.

“It would be impossible for us not to have the same ambitions at home,” he added.

Carlgren also said the government planned to compensate for emissions caused by cabinet ministers’ flights by buying emission rights.

The centre-right government plans to present a formal proposal to parliament in the autumn.

According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, Sweden’s emissions of greenhouse gases amounted to 67 million tonnes (73.8 million tons) in 2005, a drop of seven percent since 1990.

EU environment ministers in February agreed to cut the bloc’s joint emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

Sweden’s neighbour Norway, which is not a member of the EU, has also announced that it plans reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020.