New research indicates that with consumption-based climate targets and new policy instruments, the emissions associated with goods and services consumed in Sweden can be reduced, even if they occur abroad.

There is currently a discussion about Sweden’s territorially based climate targets in relation to the EU’s climate targets . This article broadens the perspective on what climate targets Sweden should have, according to Jörgen Larsson, a researcher at Chalmers University of Technology and one of the authors behind the article.

– All the parties in the Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives supported adopting consumption-based climate targets last year. The new government has neither addressed nor opposed this, he says.

Examining the Arguments
The article, recently published in the Nature journal “Communications Earth & Environment,” scrutinizes the arguments for and against having consumption-based climate targets as a complement to territorial targets . A unique aspect is that these targets apply even if emissions occur outside Sweden. This is also an argument in favor of these climate goals—that they can provide a foundation for new policy instruments that reduce emissions, whether they arise within or outside Sweden’s borders.

Emissions in 2045
This could involve, for example, consumption fees in areas with a high risk of carbon leakage, such as various raw materials (e.g., cement) and animal-based food. The article also analyzes how high consumption-based emissions are estimated to be in 2045 if Sweden achieves today’s territorial climate targets.

– The results show that technological advances need to be complemented with behavioral changes in the most climate-intensive areas to reach the target levels proposed by the Committee, says Jörgen Larsson.

The article builds on a report that the researchers produced at the request of the Swedish Parliament’s Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives. This report served as a basis for the proposal for new consumption-based climate targets.

Read the full article in Communications Earth & Environment here.

More about Jörgen’s and Johannes’s work for the Cross-Party Committee on Environmental Objectives here, with a link to the previous report.

Jörgen Larsson
+46 708 83 33 70

Johannes Morfeldt
+46 31 772 14 67