Reuters, February, 2017, epmag.com
Sweden set a goal on Feb. 2 of phasing out greenhouse-gas emissions by 2045, among the most ambitious by any developed nation, and ignoring uncertainty about climate change policies under U.S. President Donald Trump.
Seven of eight parties in Sweden's Parliament--all but the far-right Sweden Democrats--agreed to pass a law in the coming months to oblige governments to set tougher goals to cut fossil fuel use every four years toward the 2045 cut-off date.
"Our target is to be an entirely fossil-fuel-free welfare state," Climate Minister Isabella Lovin told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"2045 is a good year," she said of the target formally adopted after one year of review, adding, "I personally believe we could get there even earlier." She expected the law to enter into force in 2018.
Among EU nations, she said, Britain, Denmark and Finland have also passed climate laws meant to make long-term policies less easily overturned and to give more certainty to investors.
By contrast, Trump has sometimes called climate change a hoax and wants to bolster the U.S. coal and fossil fuel industries. He has threatened to pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, but also said he has an "open mind."
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a news briefing in Stockholm that Trump's climate policies were worrying because greenhouse-gas emissions would affect everyone.
He and Lovin said all other nations should stick with the Paris Agreement.
"We see that the advantages of a climate-smart society are so huge, both when it comes to health, job creation and also security," she said. "Being dependent on fossil fuels and gas from Russia is not what we need now."
At a summit in Paris in December 2015, almost 200 nations agreed to a goal of phasing out net fossil fuel use in the second half of the century to curb floods, heat waves and droughts and to slow rising sea levels.
Sweden's goal would demand at least an 85% cut in domestic greenhouse-gas emissions by 2045 from 1990 levels, the government said. Lingering emissions would be offset, for instance, by planting forests that soak up carbon as they grow or by investments abroad.
The EU as a whole has set a target of an 80% to 95% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.