In the fight against climate change, Sweden has taken the lead among the European Union member states. The Nordic nation also tops a ranking of the 141 nations that ratified the historic Paris climate accord that entered into force in November 2016.
NGO network Carbon Market Watch and NGO Transport & Environment released the “EU Climate Leader Board” ranking this week to coincide with negotiations over the EU’s key legislation on climate action.
“We can say that from all EU countries, when it comes to how seriously it takes the Paris Agreement, and how that is reflected in their positions when negotiating climate files in Brussels, Sweden has the best position,” energy analyst Carlos Calvo Ambel from Transport & Environment told The Local.
As reported by The Local, the study ranked EU nations in relation to goals published in a European Commission proposal for climate action that are intended to make sure the EU fulfils the obligations set out in the Paris agreement.
Sweden tops the list, followed by Germany and France, while Poland is rock bottom.
Sweden scored highest because of its moves to close loopholes in European climate law, and its plans to achieve higher domestic emission reductions than the 40% target the European Commission has proposed EU member nations should reach by 2030.
“Sweden advocates the closing of the Emission Trading System (ETS) loophole for instance,” Calvo Ambel said. A European scheme for trading emissions allowances, the ETS places a cap on emissions then allows participants to sell leftover credits if they have a surplus.
“The ETS has a massive surplus of allowances that accumulated over time. Some want to use those allowances to avoid reducing emissions in sectors like transport. Sweden also advocates not rewarding countries that will not meet 2020 EU climate & energy targets. Besides, Sweden has a long-term vision still lacking in most member states,” he added.
But there is still room for improvement.
“It could clearly advocate to avoid abusing forestry credits. Another way it could improve its position could be by advocating to establish financial penalties for countries not complying with its obligations,” said Calvo Ambel.
Last month, Sweden announced an ambitious new target of achieving a net level of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
Climate Minister Isabella Lövin told The Local that she thinks meeting the goal is “entirely possible”.