Sweden must take responsibility for our entire impact on the climate. In recent decades, the greenhouse gas emissions within Sweden have decreased. At the same time, emissions that occur in other countries as a consequence of Swedish consumption have drastically increased. They are now larger than emissions occurring within Sweden. Despite this, there are no official goals to decrease emissions in other countries which are a result of Swedish consumption. That is why 22 Swedish stakeholders, including Responsible Consumption, have together assumed a common position:
We want Sweden to take into account the country’s entire climate effect and add a new milestone to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that is created by Swedish consumption. The new milestone has the starting point of everyone having the right to emit in equal amounts and that the 1.5 degree goal shall be reachable. We also want to set aside enough resources to measure and follow up the emissions created by consumption, in a continuous and meaningful way.”
Rather than changing the current goals and measurement method, we advocate for an additional milestone to be introduced among the Swedish environmental goals.
There are several ways to measure greenhouse gas emissions. The standard method is to measure emissions that occur within a country’s borders, the national emissions, which is also what is reported to the UNFCCC. This is sometimes called the production perspective. It is an insufficient method as not all of the emissions which a country’s society and lifestyle give rise to are acknowledged.
A new environmental goal
In October 2020, the Swedish government published directives (in Swedish) to Miljömålsberedningen (the Environmental Goals Council), who have been tasked to assemble a strategy to decrease the climate impact of consumption based emissions and to prepare the question of goals. This is what the organizations behind the Climate Goal Initiative have strived for since the beginning. We have worked with this initiative since 2016 and are proud over this development.