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Sweden is working actively to reduce the presence of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) and is one of the founding members of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to reduce SLCPs (CCAC). Sweden serves on the CCAC Steering Committee and is involved in several of the Coalition’s initiatives. The drive to reduce the presence of SLCPs complements necessary efforts to reduce emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide. Only by substantial reductions of carbon dioxide can we meet the target of limiting the rise in global temperature to two degrees.
Sweden takes a particularly serious view of the impact of climate change in sensitive areas such as the Arctic and the Himalayas. Reducing SLCPs will also have a positive impact on air quality and consequently on health, and will lead to lower crop losses. From a national perspective, reducing SLCP emissions can help Sweden to achieve several of its 16 environmental quality objectives more quickly.
A key principle in the Coalition is that all members also work at national level to reduce SLCP emissions, and work is in progress in Sweden to identify measures for further reductions. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has been tasked with developing black carbon emissions inventories, which is a necessary step if we are to take the right measures. Another dimension of national action is to raise the level of awareness of SLCPs. As part of this, Sweden hosted a seminar about SLCPs and the CCAC together with the USA in Stockholm in June 2012.
Sweden cooperates closely with its Nordic neighbours – which are also members of the CCAC – on SLCP mitigation. SLCPs will be one of the focus areas for the Swedish Chairmanship of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2013. A united stance will enable the Nordic region to lead the way in reducing the presence of SLCPs in the region and globally.
In 2012, Sweden has provided SEK 1.8 million to support the Coalition’s Secretariat and enable developing countries to participate, and SEK 10 million to fund operational activities, i.e. programmes aimed at reducing SLCP emissions.
Sweden is particularly involved in the following projects: Reducing Black Carbon Emissions from Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicles and Engines, Mitigating SLCPs from the Municipal Solid Waste Sector, and Accelerating Methane and Black Carbon Reductions from Oil and Natural Gas Production. These are areas where Sweden has much to contribute. We have a strong vehicle industry and far-reaching requirements for vehicles and the fuel they use. Sweden also has knowledge and experience to share in the waste sector.
Sweden is also working actively as chair of the Arctic Council to limit SLCP emissions in the Arctic region. Reducing black carbon in the Arctic is particularly important as these emissions increase regional warming, and a rapidly warming climate in the Arctic will have global consequences.
There is also a special SLCP Task Force under the Arctic Council, with a Swedish co-chair, tasked to present concrete measures for the Arctic to reduce SLCPs.
International agreements are important for tackling black carbon emissions from shipping, particularly agreements under the UN’s maritime agency, the IMO. In 2010, Sweden, together with Norway and the United States, submitted proposals to the IMO on measures to reduce black carbon emissions from shipping in the Arctic. In the longer term, Sweden hopes to work with other IMO Member States on such regulations.
In the context of the UN Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP), which regulates emissions of air pollutants at regional level, Sweden has urged and gained support for the inclusion of black carbon as an issue when deciding on a new agreement on emissions reductions up until 2020. Emissions can only be reduced on the basis of measurement data and emission inventories of satisfactory quality. Sweden is therefore contributing to the methods development project that is now starting under the Convention. Sweden is also actively working to include SLCPs in the EU in connection with the current review of EU air quality policy.
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