Budget pours on billions to cut greenhouse gasses

5:09 min

As part of its stump for the fall budget, which it will present Monday, government ministers presented a plan to invest SEK 4.5 billion next year for infrastructure, technology, and tax breaks aimed at cutting greenhouse gasses.

Deputy Prime Minister Åsa Romson of the Green Party admitted that while their climate goals are ambitious, they were not enough to bring Sweden to the goal of a 40 percent cut from its 1990 level of emissions by the year 2020.

"As climate minister of course I am very eager to get more reforms on board," Romson told Radio Sweden. "But this is just one very big step to show that the Swedish government is ready now to put in place reforms that take very big steps towards our goals."

Romson, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan, and Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin posed on a rooftop amidst rows of solar panels. The government wants to allocate SEK 115 million for solar in 2016, and a whopping SEK 1.4 billion in the next four years.

Newspaper Dagens Nyheter reports that there are 4,300 households and companies on queue for government solar power subsidies up to 30 percent for companies and 20 percent for homes. But one commentator told the newspaper that as the price of solar power technology falls the industry would rather that the government has a plan to phase out the subsidy.

To pay the bill for their eco-initiatives, the government plans to raise taxes on gasoline, half a krona per liter, or SEK 15 more to fill a 30-liter tank. It estimates SEK 4 billion in tax revenues next year.

And as part of encouraging Swedes to travel in more climate-smart ways the plan calls for spending SEK 100 million during the next two years just to get people to ride their bicycles more.

As the government works towards greenhouse gas cuts by spending money on infrastructure and technology, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of the Social Democrats made sure to underline that becoming climate smart does not nudge aside a focus on job creation.

"Let's take busses for example driven by electricity. They're produced in Sweden... and right now on a larger scale," Löfven told Radio Sweden. "The only thing that creates jobs is when companies say 'We are selling now, we need to hire people.'"