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Sweden is one of the few nations expected to meet or exceed its target according to the Kyoto Protocol and is lauded as one of the countries that has adopted the most stringent measures to address global warming on the basis of emission levels and trends and climate policy. Since 2000, greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden have been an average of 3.7 percent below levels in 1990 and are expected to be 4 percent lower in 2010. This meets Sweden's national target of reducing emissions by 4 percent between 1990 and 2012.

A traditional windmill in southern Sweden. Sweden has invested heavily in the development of wind and water power plants.

Sweden has committed to becoming the world's first oil-free nation by 2020. The Swedish Government's Commission on Oil Independence proposed measures necessary to eliminate Sweden's dependence on fossil fuels for transport and heating and promotes the use of renewable alternatives. In 1970, 77 percent of Sweden's energy came from oil, but this amount decreased to 32 percent by 2003. Nuclear power will be phased out, and Sweden has invested heavily in the development of wind and water power plants. Innovative programs including the use of boilers that use wood-based pellets have dramatically decreased the use of oil for home heating, and tax exemptions enabling drivers to use ethanol-based fuel have increased compliance among residents. Sweden's climate strategy involves partnerships between the business community, scientists, and politicians.

Recent modelling scenarios indicate an increase in annual mean temperature in Sweden of between 4.5-8.1 degrees F (2.5-4.5 degrees C) by 2100, with a greater increase in temperature and rate of precipitation during the winter than the summer. Specific effects include flooding resulting from increased precipitation and heavier rainfall. Summer drought and water shortages are expected in southern Sweden because of changes in precipitation rates and increased evaporation. Although the flora and fauna of Sweden may be enriched by a number of southern species, northern species and those indigenous to the Baltic Sea region will be displaced.

Agricultural yields are likely to benefit from warmer temperatures, with extended growing periods and better conditions for cultivation leading to increased harvest yields of around 20 percent and an increased number of commercial crops. A warmer climate would result in elevated levels of pests and disease, leading to the more frequent usage of pesticides. Anticipated changes in temperature and salinity in the Baltic Sea are expected to have an adverse effect on species of importance to the fisheries sector such as Baltic herring, cod, salmon, turbot, and plaice. Species composition is expected to shift as new fish and shellfish species are introduced from the south. Reduced sea-ice cover may also have an adverse effect on reproduction for flatfish, whereas warm-water species such as pike, perch, and carp may benefit from higher water temperatures.

SEE ALSo: Kyoto Protocol; Renewable Energy Policy Project (REPP); Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI).

BIBLIoGRAPHY. Jon Moen, Karin Aune, Lars Edenius, and Anders Angerbjorn, "Potential Effects of Climate Change on Treeline Position in the Swedish Mountains," Ecology and Society (v.9/1, 2004); Markku Rummukainen, Sten Bergstrom, Gunn Persson, Johan Rodhe, and Michael Tjernstrom, "The Swedish Regional Climate Modelling Programme, SWECLIM: A Review," Ambio (v.33/4-5, 2004).

Joanna Kafarowski University of Northern British Columbia

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Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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