SWEDEN: Rising CO2 emissions add urgency to climate change plans

Despite Sweden's success in reducing certain greenhouse gas emissions, levels of CO2 have risen since 1990. The country's Kyoto target will only be met if policy and lifestyle changes come quickly.

“Huge changes are needed,” a Sweden EPA spokesperson told edie, discussing Sweden’s goal to keep CO2 emissions under control. “We are waiting on a government committee that will decide on our climate change measures.”

Preliminary data show that Sweden’s CO2 emissions have risen 3.7% from 1990 to 1998. The country is allowed a 4% increase in 1990 CO2 emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. This 4% increase must not be exceeded after the 2008-2012 period, meaning that Sweden needs to slow down its current CO2 emission increases quickly.

“Transport has been responsible for the increase,” acknowledged the EPA spokesperson. 40% of Sweden’s CO2 emissions now come from the transport sector.

In addition, Sweden is committed to phasing out nuclear energy, without increases in greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a tall order. The EPA spokesperson believes it’s all possible if the right political decisions are taken to allow for profound changes in lifestyle. “We’ve succeeded with sulphur dioxide and we’re reducing nitrogen oxide emissions,” said the spokesperson. “Sulphur dioxide emissions have dropped to 48,000 tonnes in 1998. “That’s very low. It used to be about 200,000 in the 80s.”

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