Sweden plans for green spending spree

The government’s upcoming budget proposes spending 3 billion kronor ($443 million) on environment and energy measures.

Sweden plans for green spending spree

Most of the money will go toward making new energy technologies commercially viable.

The spending package also includes 670 million kronor for environment investments in other countries.

Environment minister Anders Carlgren pointed out that the measures implemented abroad are significantly more cost effective than those which are made domestically.

“One krona spent in a developing country can give back ten times more,” he said.

The investments will occur within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, which allows Sweden to count them toward its own national emissions reduction targets.

Four billion kronor from the regular development aid budget will also be devoted to eco-friendly international aid projects.

Among other things, the money will be used to help developing countries prepare themselves for the long-term effects of climate change, such as flooding and drought.

The Green Party’s Maria Wetterstrand criticized the move.

“The government is taking money from the regular aid budget in order to sell Swedish technology to these countries. Technology transfer is fine, but not when you take money from the budget for fighting poverty to do it,” said Wetterstrand.

Social Democratic environmental policy spokesperson Anders Ygeman feels that the government is spending too little money on the environment and claims that the funding is simply taken from other areas.

“They cut down the green car subisidy, they took away the contributions for windows, they’ve scrapped the eco-investment programme, and that’s where the new money comes from,” he said.

“It’s very much about playing with the numbers.”


Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English.