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ENVIRONMENT

Swedes’ meat consumption continues to decrease

Swedes are eating less meat than ever before, according to new figures from the Swedish Board of Agriculture (Jordbruksverket).

Swedes’ meat consumption continues to decrease
Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT
After last year produced the largest annual reduction in meat consumption since the organization started recording the figures in 1990, the downward trend has continued throughout the first three quarters of this year. 
 
From January through September, there was a 2.8 percent overall decline in meat consumption. On average, Swedes consumed 1.8 fewer kilograms of meat through the first nine months of 2018. 
 
“Market trends, climate considerations, a focus on health and animal ethics are all factors in our current consumption trends,” Jordbruksverket spokesperson Åsa Lannhard Öberg said in a press release
 
Although eco-conscious Swedes are likely well aware of the enormous carbon footprint of meat production, there may also be a less altruistic reason behind the decline. 
 
“Meat sales declined in many stores during the summer as a result of the barbecue ban, but consumption is also decreasing longer-term so there we can’t just point to the summer months to explain the decline,” Lannhard Öberg said.
 
The summer of 2018 saw Sweden hit by the worst wildfires in more than 50 years, prompting authorities to put in place bans on all kinds of open fire, including barbecues across the country. The majority of those bans were put in place in early summer and lifted by the end of August. 
 
Increasingly, when Swedes reach for meat products in the supermarket they are placing home-grown products in their carts. Jordbruksverket’s figures showed that demand for Swedish meat and poultry increased significantly. Domestic lamb led the way, with a six percent increase, while Swedish beef increased by 4.4 percent, pork by 3.2 and Swedish poultry by 2.3 percent. 
 
Lannhard Öberg attributed the increases in Swedish meat and poultry to an increased focus on environmental sustainability, which she said is particularly strong within the Swedish agriculture sector. 
 
 
 

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ALMEDALEN 2022

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. 

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