Sweden’s Climate Act and Climate Policy Framework

In 2017 Sweden adopted a new climate policy framework. The framework consists of a climate act, climate targets and a climate policy council. Sweden's long-term target is to have zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest.

The purpose of the framework is to create a clear and coherent climate policy to ensure long term signals to the market and other actors. The framework was adopted by the Parliament with a broad majority of the political parties and is set up to withstand political shifts. The climate policy framework is an important climate reform in Sweden and is a key component of Sweden's efforts to comply with the Paris Agreement.

The Climate Act

The Climate Act entered into force on the first of January 2018. The Act establishes that the Government's climate policy must be based on the climate targets and specifies how the implementation is to be carried out. The Act states that the Government shall:

  • present a climate report in its Budget Bill each year;
  • draw up a climate policy action plan every fourth year to describe how the climate targets are to be achieved.
  • make sure that climate policy goals and budget policy goals work together

The Swedish Climate targets

Long term target

The long-term target for Sweden is zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest. After 2045 Sweden is to achieve negative net emissions.

Achieving zero net emissions of greenhouse gases means that the emissions of greenhouse gases from activities in Sweden shall be at least 85 per cent lower in 2045 compared to 1990. The remaining reductions down to zero can be achieved through supplementary measures. Such measures can also contribute to negative net emissions after 2045.

Milestone targets

The milestone targets towards the long-term goal include emissions covered by the EU's Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR). Emissions covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) are not included. The milestone targets are:

  • By 2020 emissions are to be 40 per cent lower than 1990
  • By 2030 emissions are to be 63 per cent lower than 1990
  • By 2040 emissions are to be 75 per cent lower than 1990

The milestone targets are visualized in the graph below. Note that these targets do not include emissions and uptake in the land use and forest sector.

As with the long-term target, there are also possibilities to attain parts of the targets by 2030 and 2040 through supplementary measures. Such measures may be used to achieve up to 8 per cent of the 2030 target and 2 per cent of the 2040 target.

The emissions from domestic transport, with the exception of domestic flights, are to be reduced by at least 70 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010.

Supplementary measures

To achieve the target of zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045 and the milestone targets by 2030 and 2040, supplementary measures may be utilized, such as:

  • increased uptake of carbon dioxide by forests as the result of additional measures;
  • verified emission reductions carried out outside the Swedish borders; and
  • carbon capture and storage based on the combustion of biomass, known as bio-CCS.

The Climate Policy Council

A climate policy council will ensure that the Government's policies are in line with the climate goals. The climate policy council is an interdisciplinary expert body tasked to provide independent assessments of how the overall policy presented by the government is compatible with the national climate targets. The Council consists of members with high scientific competence in the fields of climate, climate policy, economics, social sciences and behavioral sciences.

Each year the Climate Policy Council is required to submit a progress report to the Government with an assessment of work carried out to address climate change and current emission trends. In addition, three months after the government has submitted its climate policy action plan in accordance with the Climate Act, the Council shall submit a report to the government with an assessment of the action plan.

The Climate Policy Council should also contribute to increased discussion in society about climate policy.

The role of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Every fourth year, the Government shall present a climate policy action plan to describe how the climate goals are to be achieved. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency supports the government with data and analysis.
The first climate policy action plan is to be presented by the Government in 2019.