Swedish minister faces no-confidence vote over 'irresponsible' climate plan

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Swedish minister faces no-confidence vote over 'irresponsible' climate plan
Sweden's climate minister, Romina Pourmokhtari, during the press conference announcing the new climate plan. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Sweden's climate minister is facing a no-confidence motion after announcing a long-awaited climate plan which critics claim contains few of the concrete measures needed to meet 2030 emissions targets.


The Green Party said it would launch a no-confidence motion against Romina Pourmokhtari, quickly gaining the backing of the Centre Party and the Left Party. 

"The Green Party cannot have confidence in a climate minister who is pushing through shock increases in emissions," Daniel Helldén, the party's joint leader, told Aftonbladet after the plan was announced on Thursday. "They are quite deliberately pushing responsibility for the future out into the future. Those who are going to have to deal with the consequences are ordinary Swedes and our businesses." 

"They are actively breaking the climate law," agreed Rickard Nordin, the Centre Party's energy policy spokesperson. "This is irresponsible and unacceptable."

Pourmokhtari announced the plan alongside Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson at a press conference on Thursday.

"The core of this climate plan is energy policy and an increase in energy production," she said, claiming that the plan contains 50 new measures aimed at reducing emissions. "I am convinced that this plan will set Sweden on the right course." 

While she said the plan would help the country reach net zero by 2045, she was reticent about Sweden's climate goals for 2030.

According to the government's own budget, Sweden is on track to miss its 2030 targets as a consequence of its decision to cut tax on petrol and diesel and sharply reduce the amount of biofuel that needs to be blended with these fuels. 

According to a press release from Pourmokhtari's Liberal Party, measures in the plan include a "distance-based system for the taxation of heavy goods transport", an 800 million kronor increase in the Climate Leap subsidy for green businesses, and plans to look at subsidies for electric planes.

The plan also contains a call for a new analysis of how to make sure charging points for electric vehicles are established across the country, and a green labelling scheme to help consumers choose light, energy efficient vehicles. 


But Sweden's public broadcaster SVT reported on Wednesday that several key proposals had been removed from the plan at the last minute on the insistence of the the far-right Sweden Democrats, including a commitment to ending the sale of diesel and petrol-driven cars from 2030. 

"It didn't need to be this way," Helldén said. "This is the result of the Liberals choosing every day to negotiate away our future with the Sweden Democrats. The Green Party's door stands open for anyone who truly wants to negotiate policies for a just green transition. The Liberals have chosen the Sweden Democrats." 

Karin Lexén, secretary-general at The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, told the TT newswire that the plan lacked any new measures which would come close to making up for the rise in emissions created by the government's decision to sharply reduce rules requiring biofuels to be blended with petrol and diesel. 


It is also, she complained, much too heavily reliant on paying for emissions reductions internationally to reach Swedish goals, something even professor John Hassler, who ran the government's own climate policy inquiry, recommended against, arguing that the framework for this had yet to be agreed internationally. 

The Social Democrats, the main party of the centre-left opposition, also criticised the plan as a "betrayal of promises", but didn't immediately say whether or not they would join a vote of no-confidence against Pourmokhtari. The four parties don't together hold a majority in parliament, so in order to oust a minister they would need a few MPs from the right wing to also vote against her.


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