The Swedish government is quite serious about its renewable energy goals, seeking to become the world’s first fossil fuel–free nation. The last week of September, the country announced that it is laying the groundwork and reinforcing progress at every turn. It will be spending an extra $546 million on renewable energy and climate change action, according to “The Budget Bill for 2016 – Investing in Sweden’s Future.” Sweden means clean business.
Their aim is none other than to become the world’s first nation to end all dependence on fossil fuels. Thanks to data compiled by Bloomberg, we know that, last year, Sweden acquired about ⅔ of its electricity generation capacity from clean and low-carbon sources. Continuing towards a complete shutdown of fossil fuels for electricity production, Sweden plans to progress incomparably with increased reductions of emissions by 2020.
The country is focused on increasing its solar and wind energy capacity, and the intent for its transport industry is to gradually become more sustainable (and presumably switch fully to electric and human-powered transport). Last year, Sweden announced plans to make Stockholm, the country’s capital, fossil fuel–free by 2050.
Bloomberg points out, “the Government will increase support for solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids and clean transport.” As well, investment in photovoltaics is supposed to increase nearly eightfold to 390 million kronor per year between 2017 and 2019. The majority of the budget increase will reportedly be financed by heavier taxes on petrol and diesel fuel.
“Sweden is closing airports and nuclear plants, selling off coal mines, spending billions to cut its greenhouse gas emissions, increasing green spending in developing countries, and is determined to lead by example at COP21 in Paris,” The Ecologist notes.
It is a breath of fresh air and good news for our children and grandchildren. Speaking to the Swedish Parliament, Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the assembled press and politicians: “Children should grow up in a toxin-free environment; the precautionary principle, the removal of dangerous substances and the idea that the polluter should pay are the basis of our politics.”
Sweden’s exquisite move forwards is a fierce turn and contrast to the UK, where, The Ecologist points out, “the Conservative government have slashed investment in renewables and decarbonization.”
The country’s quest is ongoing and a standard in Scandinavia. I reported a couple of years back on its blazing lead in the article, “Most Sustainable Country In The World — Sweden (Northern Europeans Top The List).” This past summer as well, CleanTechnica noted it remained #1: “Sweden Is The “World’s Most Sustainable Country.”
Places such as Copenhagen, Denmark, abound with strategies for sustainable welfare-based growth under a “green Nordic model.” I hope more will announce plans in Paris to follow their approach (at COP21 in Paris this December).
Another old post of ours, “Sweden’s Quest To Be The First Oil-Free Nation,” shares some visuals from 2003–2011 that help show how Sweden has been progressing to cut out fossil fuels.