Understanding GHG emissions from Swedish consumption: Current challenges in reaching the generational goal
Schmidt, Sarah, Södersten, Carl-Johan, Wiebe, Kirsten, Simas, Moana, Palm, Viveka and Wood, Richard. Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 212. pp. 428–37. DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2018.11.060
Sweden’s Generational Goal, the overarching goal of Swedish environmental policy, aims at solving all major domestic environmental problems for the next generation without increasing environmental damage abroad.
Without a good understanding of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Swedish consumption, the formulation of efficient and well-targeted policy initiatives to reach the Generational Goal is difficult. The authors analysed the impacts of Swedish consumption in detail, investigating the impacts of different final consumers and different consumption clusters as well as the geographical locations of where GHGs are emitted to satisfy Swedish demand, over a period of 20 years.
The study shows that total consumption-based GHG emissions fluctuated but remained relatively stable over the period. However, the origin of the emissions shifted from predominantly within Sweden to predominantly outside the country. Consumption-based emissions within Sweden decreased substantially through a reduction of direct emissions associated with domestic heating and mobility, whereas those outside Sweden increased, especially in China and in the rest of Asia.
The authors show that manufactured products are responsible for a large share of this development, displaying a strong trend toward future increases. This calls for policy measures targeting consumption, especially of manufactured products such as textiles, clothing and furniture that cause large impacts in other countries.