Opposition parties unite around emissions goal

Sweden’s opposition political parties want to see Sweden’s green house gas emissions reduced by 40 percent by the year 2020.

The suggestion comes days before a commission on climate change meets to seek an agreement on the matter.

The commission, which includes representatives from all the political parties in the Riksdag, was created in April by the government to develop goals and measures for Swedish climate policy.

Social Democrat Lena Hallengren told Svenska Dagbladet that since 1990 Sweden has already reduced emissions by 10 percent of the 40 percent overall reduction called for by the opposition.

She emphasized that Sweden must take action to reduce emissions domestically.

“It’s important to be clear about what must be done domestically and what can be done in other countries. We’re happy to look at international efforts, but the measures we can influence directly are those applicable in Sweden,” she said.

The Green Party would also like to see an international climate agreement, and the Left Party suggests adding 3 billion kronor to the foreign aid budget to help developing countries adjust to the changing climate.

While there is general agreement within the commission on the need for major reductions in green house gas emissions, there are differences between the two main political blocks with respect to how much of the reduction should take place in other countries.

The governing Alliance parties want to include measures in effect beyond Sweden’s borders when evaluating overall emissions reductions.

The Center Party’s Claes Västerteg estimates that approximately 10 percent of the remaining 30 percent in greenhouse gas reductions could be achieved in developing countries.

“It would be strange to implement measures in other countries that we can’t use in calculating Sweden’s goals. A ton of carbon dioxide is a ton of carbon dioxide. Environmental problems don’t care much about national boundaries,” said the Moderate Party’s Sofia Arkelsten to Svenska Dagbladet.