eiffel tower Paris
New report from Chalmers University of Technology: National emissions targets based on the Paris Agreement and international various equity principles​ - analysis of Sweden's territorial climate targets​.​ Photo: Pixabay.​​​​​

Are Sweden's climate goals in line with the Paris Agreement?

This issue has been debated lately in Sweden. The results depend on how the global emission budget is scaled down and distributed among countries. The choice of method comes down to ethical questions and is ultimately a political decision. Three researchers from Chalmers - Johannes Morfeldt, Christian Azar and Daniel Johansson - come to the following conclusions in a recent report:

  • ​​Sweden's (territorial) emission target is compatible with the 1.5 degree target given that the global carbon dioxide emission space is distributed evenly per person and year.
  • Sweden's (territorial) emissions target is compatible with the 1.5-degree target, even if we also take historical responsibility for our carbon dioxide emissions from sometime in the 1990s.
  • If Sweden takes responsibility for emissions further back in time, we would need more ambitious goals (than the current ones).
IPCC has estimated the amount of carbon the world can emit in order to meet the 1,5 degree target (a carbon budget). In order to determine how much each country can emit within this global budget, i.e., to scale down the emission budget to a national level, various principles of equity may be applied. The choice of principle may have a significant impact on the results. 

Finally, the researchers address the role of science in this debate. Science is central to calculating what global emission space is left to reach a certain temperature target. But science cannot determine which distribution principle is right. How the remaining emission space is to be distributed between countries is basically an ethical and political issue and not an issue that science can decide.

Johannes Morfeldt, Researcher, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, , Chalmers University of Technology.
Christian Azar, Professor of Energy and environment, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology.
Daniel Johansson​, Associate Professor, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology.​

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Page manager Published: Thu 16 Jun 2022.