A lot of people has this strong conception about Scandinavian countries, Sweden included, as a green paradise, where environment is respected and preserved at any cost. Is it really like that and if yes, what these country are doing? About Sweden, I live there, and I can say yes, there is care about environmental issue. I will explain why I think so, and what they are actually doing.
The World Bank dedicated an article (When It Comes to Emissions, Sweden Has Its Cake and Eats It Too) about Swedish attitude about environmental issues, saying that they consider it a model to emulate. Therefore, the article explains Swedish success thanks to the introduction of a carbon tax in 1991. The government started to increase the rate arriving to the actual rate, 137 EUR per ton, the highest carbon tax in the world.
In fact, in 2013 mostly all the statistics regarding GHG were showing reduction of CO2 emissions for Sweden, as you can easily see from the table below that I took from a report on United Nations’ Site (here for the complete report).
Look now to the graphic below from the swedish Ministry of Finance, that I borrowed from World Bank site. Taking 1990 as reference year , the CO2 emissions are strongly decreasing, without compromising the economic growth – GDP had been going really well.
In 2008 in an article on its site (Sweden’s carbon-tax solution to climate change puts it top of the green list) The Guardian pointed out how actually Sweden was doing so well that the prtocol of Kyoto was giving it the chance to increase CO2 emission of 4% in the following years.
Again, this year The Guardian in an article entitled Waste not want not: Sweden to give tax breaks for repairs underlined that from 1990 till today Sweden has been able to reduce CO2 emission of 23% and that nowadays half of its energy is produced from renewable resources.
What about other nations?
It’s quite obviously that a country like Sweden cannot be compared to Germany in absolute terms because its inhabitants are few (less than 10 mln). But obviously somebody thought about that and we have here a per capita level graph, so let’s go for it.
Analyzing the data from the European Environmental Agency we can see that in 2011 Sweden was one of the best countries, next to Romania and Latvia.
Interesting in this graph to see how actually other Scandinavian countries are behaving…. not well actually. Norway is far from the EU-27 level, in the meanwhile Finland is doing really badly.
So, not all Scandinavian countries are doing well. Just Sweden can be really considered a model. And this make more evident and admirable their efforts.
If you want to have more info there is available online the Sweden’s First Biennial Report under the UNFCCC: it’s quite detailed and interesting.
Yes, Sweden is doing great and it is better for all EU to try to emulate what it is doing in order to avoid to give to our children a destroyed Planet.