With Obama in Stockholm, U.S. and Sweden issue joint statement on carbon

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013

President Obama marked his visit to Sweden today with a joint statement by both countries highlighting the importance of climate change and low-carbon energy technology.

The statement by Obama and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called climate change and its consequences “defining challenges of our time.”

“The United States and Sweden are determined to take actions to counter climate change and promote clean energy, domestically and internationally, including through the U.N. climate negotiations, while driving continued economic growth,” the leaders said.

Visiting Stockholm at the top of a three-day foreign trip, Obama and Reinfeldt toured an energy expo promoting low-emission vehicle technology. A fact sheet released by the White House praised the president’s host country for reducing its use of fossil fuels over the last four decades while growing its economy.

“Sweden is a global leader in deploying clean energy solutions,” it said, adding that the Scandinavian country has transitioned away from its dependence on oil in the last decades, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. “Sweden has a national vision of becoming an economy with no net emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2050,” it said.

Sweden is still a major petroleum producer, however.

The fact sheet also touted the president’s climate change agenda, pledging that the two countries would cooperate on climate change initiatives in the future, including by helping to increase the ambition of the U.N. climate change negotiations.

The eventual agreement, which is set to be finalized in 2015 and take effect after 2020, should be “consistent with science and applicable to all,” the fact sheet said.

The two countries have also moved away from supporting international financing of coal-fired power plants in favor of helping poor countries invest in low-carbon alternatives, the fact sheet noted. The president pledged in June that the United States would no longer support the construction of new coal-fired capacity overseas except in rare instances.