We all know as the climate change crisis intensifies, how important it is to celebrate and preserve the Earth. 

On the occasion of World Environment Day 2022, Sweden is the host country that has taken the initiative to host it this coming year. 

Exceptional clean air and low greenhouse gas emissions! Are they the only requirements for a country to host climate events? 

According to RobecoSAM’s Country Sustainability Ranking report, Sweden is the second most sustainable country in the world for 2021.

The Scandinavian country came out on top of 59 other countries in various environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors, maintaining its dominance from the previous year.

The Country Sustainability Ranking is based on 17 variables that provide insight into the investment risks and possibilities connected with each country. It is based on critical chance and returns drivers essential to investors.

In collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, Sweden’s government will host World Environment Day 2022 (UNEP).

The year 2022 celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, the Stockholm Conference of 1972, which resulted in the establishment of UNEP and the designation of June 5 as World Environment Day every year.

Only One Earth will be the theme for World Environment Day 2022, emphasizing the need to live sustainably in harmony with nature by enacting transformative changes toward cleaner, greener lifestyles through legislation and human choices.

The motto of the Stockholm Conference in 1972 was only One Earth, and it still holds good 50 years later: this planet is our only home, with finite resources that humanity must protect.

Positive Aspects

Here are five reasons why it is most suitable to become the perfect host for this special day:

1. Sustainable Living

Sweden’s sustainable, high-design homes marry thoughtful architecture and the surrounding landscape
Sweden’s sustainable, high-design homes marry thoughtful architecture and the surrounding landscape | Image Credit – AD

Being a country promoting a greener Earth, Sweden stands apart from other countries because of its unique blend of public participation, high ambition, and international cooperation. 

Moreover, air pollution in Sweden is 10.2 micrograms per cubic meter compared to the world rate of 20.1 micrograms per cubic meter.

According to research by the European Commission, 40% of Swedes purchased eco-labeled food and consumer products in the previous month, which is higher than the European average.

In Sweden, the used clothing market has risen in recent years. Established companies compete with little vintage boutiques offering second-hand things because vintage fashion has become a significant craze.

Swedes are environmentally conscious when it comes to drinking containers. Out of the 90 percent target, 88 percent of all aluminum cans and PET bottles have been recycled.

2. Carbon Tax

Know more about Sweden’s Carbon tax rules | Video Credit – Bloomberg Quicktake: Now

It is most suitable as we all know one of the significant pollutants of climate change are greenhouse gases and carbon emissions, and as Sweden was one of the first countries in the nations to enact a carbon tax in 1995. 

This excise tax on carbon-intensive fuels like oil and natural gas has significantly reduced Sweden’s reliance on fossil fuels. The imposition of a carbon tax is a cost-effective way to reduce CO2 emissions.

Sweden’s environmental tax revenue was 2 percent of GDP in 2020, compared to the OECD average of 1.54 percent.

3. Roadmap 2050

Sweden plans to become the world’s first fossil-fuel-free country in the Roadmap 2050 commitment

Sweden must reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels and have a fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030. 

Smart grids, Solar and wind energy, and clean transportation will receive 4.4 billion kroner (USD633 million) from Sweden’s 2016 budget. 

Sweden will use heavy taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel, airport and nuclear facility closures, and the sale of coal mines to fund the budget rise.

4. Innovative climate change solutions

Innovative climate change solutions
Innovative climate change solutions | Image Credit – New Scientists

What the rest of the world has failed to do is Sweden has taken a step forward in “Passive Houses,” which are human-headed structures that run on energy from people’s bodies, electrical appliances, and sunlight. Several villages in Sweden have built energy-efficient passive dwellings.

Interstate conflicts, water crises, disasters caused by major weather-related disasters, unemployment, cyber-attacks, and national government failings can impact a country’s long-term viability. 

Because these elements might harm a country’s economy, Sweden must carefully evaluate ESG problems. As Sweden has demonstrated, sustainability is a goal that every country can achieve.

“Children should grow up in an environment free of hazardous substances,” Social Democratic Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said during an address to the assembled press and legislators in the Swedish Parliament. 

The essential principles are the precautionary principle, the substitution of dangerous compounds, and the polluter pays principle. We shall assume climate responsibility for future generations in Sweden to be proud of.”

5. Success in Renewable Energy

Sweden has the most significant amount of renewable energy in the EU
Sweden has the most significant amount of renewable energy in the EU | Image Credit – Research Gate

As the theme of World Environment Day 2022 is Only on Earth, Sweden has energy from renewable sources

Sweden has the most significant amount of renewable energy in the EU, with 54 percent of its energy coming from renewables, mostly hydropower and biofuels.

According to the Swedish Energy Agency, the percentage might rise to 55 percent by 2020, making it the perfect host for World Environment Day.

Negative Aspects

Even though there are many more reasons as to why Sweden is an excellent country to host World Environment 2022, there are some cons as well, which are as follows:

1. Too Ambitious on Green Transition

While Sweden may be an excellent country to host World Environment day, most Swedes don’t think it’s good to believe that climate change influences their daily lives. 

Even though respondents of all ages believe they are affected, the generation disparity is telling.

While this view is extreme among 15-29 year-olds, it lowers 22 points among those over 64 and 12 points among 30-64-year-old respondents. 

People with left-leaning political views are 10 percent more likely than those with right-leaning political views to say they sense this impact in their daily lives. 

Fifty-eight percent feel they are more concerned about the climate emergency than their government.

As a result, they are pessimistic about their country’s potential to make a large-scale green transformation. 

Only 49% believe Sweden will achieve its goal of dramatically lowering carbon emissions by 2050, as set out in the Paris Agreement.

Sweden will not fulfill its lowered carbon emission targets, according to a slender majority (51 percent). 

The age divide is particularly pronounced here, with a 22-point disparity between those under 30 (who feel Sweden will succeed) and those over 64 (who do not) (39 percent ). 

Sixty-one percent of those aged 64 and up believe Sweden will miss the 2050 target. However, only 39% of those aged 15 to 29 share this skepticism.

2. The unsuitability of Climate

Climate change and security
Climate change and security | Image Credit – Sipri

The Climate in Sweden is described by most people as “usually terrible” throughout the year. There are a few weeks when the sun shines continuously during the summer, and you may wear shorts and t-shirts. 

The weather is chilly, rainy, and drizzly for most of the year, then snowy in the winter. If you’re acquainted with the weather patterns in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the Seattle area, you’ll have a good idea of what it’s like to live in Sweden – just with a lot more snow.

Although it is not as cold or snowy in the south as in the north, there is never a guarantee of sunshine.

3. Economic Conditions

As you will soon discover, the country has no major cities. With only 800,000 people, Stockholm is the country’s capital and largest city; the neighborhood is roughly the same size as Detroit. 

Even if you consider the entire metro region, Stockholm has 1.5 million people. By the time you get to Norrkoping, the country’s tenth-largest city, the overall metro region has fewer than 100,000 people.

4. Seasonal Changes

If you live in Sweden, you need to become accustomed to the seasonal changes in the sun’s rotation. 

Winters receive substantially less sunlight than summers, with some places in the extreme north experiencing arctic winters, in which the sun disappears for a whole month. 

On the other hand, there is another month during the year when the sun never truly sets. It can be difficult for your circadian rhythm to adjust to seasonal changes if you are the type of person who values a strict routine.

5. Government’s challenge in building Sustainable communities

The Government’s ultimate goal in building sustainable communities is to promote and develop decent living conditions for everyone. 

That calls for balancing various interests in terms of physical planning, regional development, infrastructure, and residential and city planning consistent with sustainable urban development. 

An overall challenge, both nationally and globally, is posed by demographic change resulting from migration, an aging population, urbanization (particularly in the metropolitan areas), and depopulation trends in most Swedish municipalities.

Another vital ingredient of building sustainable communities is encouraging participation and codetermination in a society with equal rights, opportunities, and obligations.  

Final Verdict

Sweden can be regarded as a country with both advantages and limitations, but in comparison to other countries, this country has made significant progress in addressing climate change and sustainability, making Sweden’s hosting of World Environment Day the ideal decision. 

(Last Updated on May 17, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Thinley Doma Ghale holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Kathmandu University. She enjoys writing articles on climate change animals and loves to travel and experience new ideas, places, meeting people, and learning from them. As a social science student, research has always been her area of interest.