Last Monday my colleague Julia Senninger reported on Sweden’s new climate law. The photo of Isabella Lövin signing the law, surrounded by female colleagues has been widely shared.
The law requires reduction of Sweden’s net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045 and a 70% reduction in emissions from domestic transport by 2030. As Julia so aptly put it: “It’s a big law. We’ve done big laws before, but this is great, really.”
It’s certainly “great” but I wondered if it’s “best.”
Is Sweden best when it comes to climate change legislation today?
Here are a few examples for comparison:
UK: Climate Change Act (2008). 80% reductions in UK emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.
EU: 2030 Climate and Energy Framework (adopted in 2014). 40% reduction in EU emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
US: commitment to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020 in relation to 2005 levels, but this isn’t backed up legislation.
Mexico: General Law on Climate Change (2012). 30% reduction below Business As Usual by 2020, but “subject to the availability of financial resources ….”
China: no country-wide legislation, yet. Pledges to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and to lower the carbon intensity of GDP by 60%–65% below 2005 levels by 2030.
Clearly legislation isn’t everything and only time will tell which countries are best at reducing emissions in practice. But in my judgement Sweden is best today for having
– long-term goals
– most ambitious goals
– binding legislation
Along with Isabella Lövin and her female colleagues in the photo, this looks like a winning combination!