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Sweden’s Climate Policy – Climate Leap

The Climate Leap support program is part of Sweden’s ambitious climate policy. The main goal of this policy is to have zero net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045 and afterwards to achieve negative emissions. To accomplish this mission the government has set intermediary goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with 40% by 2020, 63% by 2030 and 75% by 2040, compared to 1990. Sweden was one of the first countries in the world to introduce a carbon tax on fossil fuels (in 1991). By 2016 Sweden managed to achieve a decrease of 26% of the total emissions of greenhouse gas, compared to 1990. Moreover, during the same period the gross national product increased by 60%. Sweden’s climate policy is meant to target the following Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy; Goal 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities; Goal 12 – Responsible Consumption and Production; and Goal 13 – Climate action. The Swedish Government believes that climate policy should be integrated in all policy areas, based on the conviction that climate action is necessary for sustainable development, increased welfare and competitiveness of the economy.

The Climate Leap local investment program was initiated in 2015 by the Swedish Government to stimulate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As of December 2018, SEK 4,885 million (around 475.000 euros) have been granted for investments within the program. The investments are accessible in all sectors, with the exception of those included in the EU ETS. All types of organisations (such as companies, municipalities, housing associations, county councils etc) can apply for the grants. The competition is based on the estimated greenhouse reduction of each investment and some examples of investments that can be granted support are: charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, biogas plants, infrastructure for biofuel and transitions from fossil oil to biofuel. The decisions and actions regarding aid within the context of Climate Leap are made by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency in collaboration with other central authorities and county administrative boards. The county administrative boards are guiding and supporting those who apply for grants in their respective counties. They accept the applications and review them before forwarding them to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, which makes the final decision.

According to the Swedish National Audit Office, who reviewed the Climate Leap program, it has largely been implemented effectively. However, the support scheme is not part of a cost-effective combination of instruments for achieving the climate goal for 2030. The start-up phase of the program was hasty and it faced a series of challenges, since the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s guide for support was developed at the same time with the start of processing grants. While there is no clear evidence that the rapid introduction of the program affected the decisions related to which measures should be granted aid, the risk that incorrect decisions were made in certain cases is still probable. This highlights the need for a functional work process before implementing a complex program such as Climate Leap.


  1. Government proposes faster pace for climate efforts. (2019, September 11).
  2. Klimatklivet – Support for Local Climate Investments. (n.d.).
  3. Report for Sweden on assessment of projected progress. (March 2019).
  4. Sweden – Carbon Neutrality Coalition. (2018, September 26). Carbon Neutrality Coalition.
  5. Sweden’s fourth Biennial Report under the UNFCCC. (n.d.).
  6. Sweden’s goal – becoming the world’s first fossil-free welfare state – United Nations Partnerships for SDGs platform. (2017).

This media content was created as a part of Nordic level youth project about SDGs and youth media, supported by Norden 0-30 programme and a a partnership between Norsensus Mediaforum (Norway), Awesome People (Sweden) and City of Helsinki (Finland). Read more about the project here!


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