As we are heading into a new era of human history, Sweden wants to be the first to go completely fossil fuel free, by being at the forefront of green energy production. With CO2 levels in the atmosphere going past 400 parts per million for the first time in over 3 million years, new reforms in energy production need to be taken, like yesterday.
This is why Sweden aims to be among the first to pass this threshold and be an example for the rest of the world. The country announced that they will be spending an extra $546 million (£360 million) on renewable energy and climate change action, beginning with their 2016 budget. The major investments will go into solar power which will have a 800% budget increase.
“Sweden will become one of the first fossil-free welfare states in the world,” Prime Minister Stefan Löfven told the press. “When European regulations do not go far enough Sweden will lead the way.”
Even though this aim doesn’t have a definite deadline, the country wants that by 2050, their capital city of Stockholm to be powered completely be renewable sources. Unfortunately however, Sweden and its Scandinavian neighbors are the only countries in the world who take the climate change threat seriously and are the only ones who realistically can become the first countries to completely renounce fossil fuels.
For one day this summer Denmark was able to generate 140% of its energy needs from wind power alone. Nevertheless, Costa Rica was powered entirely by renewable sources for 75 days and Hawaii publicly announced its plans to become the first US state to do the same all year round.
The Swedish government’s expenses plan will focus mainly on the following points:
- smart grids
- renewable energy storage technology
- an electric bus fleet
- subsidies for green cars
- climate adaptation strategies
- renovating residential buildings to make them more energy efficient.
The announcement couldn’t come soon enough, with the 2015 United Nationals Climate Change Conference being held in Paris in November. Key adviser to the Prime Minister, Johan Rockström, said in a press briefing:
“2015 is our opportunity, a chance to, in dialogue with all the countries of the world, change course towards a new development path where we can succeed in generating welfare for all, not at the planet’s cost but in cooperation with it.”
The money for these investments will come from new heavier taxes on petrol and diesel fuel. They are also considering implementing a new “meat tax” and reduce their overall carbon footprint.