Swedish ministers vow to offset emissions

Swedish ministers flying abroad will offset their carbon emissions from next year.

All pre-planned international flights taken by government ministers, such as travel to and from conferences, will be covered by the scheme.

Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren says carbon emissions by ministers will be compensated for by supporting projects in developing countries that result in equivalent emission reductions.

“We will offset emissions from our air travel by building up environmental technology in developing countries that result in emission reductions that otherwise would not have been made,” Carlgren said in a statement.

Special funds have been earmarked for the offsetting programme in next year’s budget, a statement from the Environment Ministry said.

Carlgren says he hopes others will follow the government’s example. He said Sweden could issue official guidance for business and leisure travellers who wish to offset their emissions from driving and flying.

Some carbon offsetting schemes have been accused of not really contributing to reducing emissions. Others, such as British left-wing environmentalist George Monbiot, say offsets are an excuse for people to keep polluting as before.

But Carlgren said that offsetting could be effective, and claimed the government guidance would help people avoid less reputable offsetting schemes:

“The Government Offices’ carbon offsetting is one way of showing that anyone who wishes to do something about the emissions caused by their travel can do so safely. There are monitored projects, and there is no need to risk dealing with climate cheats,” Carlgren said.