Swedish budget document states changes mean missing EU 2030 climate goals

TT/The Local
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Swedish budget document states changes mean missing EU 2030 climate goals
The green party's joint leader Per Bolund speaks at a press conference after the budget was announced. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The decisions in Sweden's proposed 2023 budget mean missing the country's binding EU emissions goal, according to the text of the budget proposal.


In the text of the budget proposal, it states clearly that the decision to reduce the mandated amount of biofuel mixed in petrol and diesel to the lowest level allowable under EU rules, together with other measures that will increase emissions, will mean Sweden failing to meet a string of EU environmental goals. 


Among them, are Sweden's commitment to reduce emissions covered by the EU's Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), such as road transport, heating of buildings, agriculture, small industrial installations, and waste management, by 50 percent on 2005 levels by 2030.  

"As a result of the measures proposed or notified in this budget proposal for 2023, emissions are expected to grow in the short term," the document reads. "The ESR-commitment until 2030 is judged to be no longer possible to reach." 

The same goes for Sweden's long-term goal of reaching net zero by 2045, for which the government admits "further measures are required" if it is going to be reached, and its goals for the transport sector. 

The biggest reason why these goals cannot be reached is the reduction in the biofuels mandate, which the government concedes would have, if kept at planned levels, reduced emissions by 6.5 million tons in 2040, equivalent to 13.5 percent of Sweden's total emissions in 2021.

But this is by far the only change, with the budget as a whole providing a full 4 billion kronor less a year to the environment than last year's budget. 

If all the measures set up by the previous Social Democrat and Green Party government had been kept in place, the document concedes, Sweden would have been on track to meet these goals. 

Speaking in parliament after the budget was announced, Per Bolund, one of the two leaders of the Green Party bitterly described the budget as "as far from a Green Party budget that it is possible to go": 

"I can only with great sorrow say that what they have now begun is a completely destructive climate and environmental slaughter," he protested. "They are dumping the multi-billion kronor environmental reforms, they are dumping the small million kronor reforms. There don’t seem to be any environmental reforms at all that are too small to be repealed."


His view was backed by Madeleine van der Veer, the policy chief for WWF in Sweden, who called the proposals "a total dismantling of the climate and environment budget". 

One of the biggest reductions was to spending on "measures for valuable nature", a decision Claes Svedlindh, head of Sweden's Environmental Protection Agency told TT would mean big problems for Sweden's nature reserves. 

"This is the spending category we normally see as the most important and it's very important that it stays stable over time," he said. "If it is reduced in the longer term, that will have big consequences for nature reserves and biodiversity."

On Monday, the government announced that it was scrapping the subsidies for electric vehicles which have helped give electric vehicles a rapidly rising share of the Swedish vehicle market. 

"This is nothing short of madness!" Bolund wrote on Twitter. "In just a few weeks, this government has slashed the two climate measures which reduce our impact on the climate the most. First the biofuels mandate and now the Bonus/Malus system. This is the same government that pretends to stand behind the climate goals and like electrification." 

The budget also halves the training budget for giving people in Sweden the skills to carry out the green transition from 100m kronor to 50m kronor. 


Johanna Sandahl, chair of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, said that the budget showed that the environment was not at all a priority. 

"This budget is a blow to environment policy and shows that the whole environment area is less of a priority. It you look at the way spending is developing, this represents a halving of the environment budget up until 2025," she said.


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