Category: sweden

Reports Indicate That Sweden Will Stop Using Cash by 2023

Is Cash Dead?

Have you noticed that, over the years, you’ve begun to use your cards or mobile pay apps much more frequently than cash? You’re not alone in this, and this trend has been on the rise in other countries around the world. In China, for example, cash is quickly on its way out, with mobile payments doubling in the last year. Sweden has also been forgoing cash an at increasing rate over the last several years, and experts predict that it’s only a short matter of time before the country is entirely cashless.

In fact, Sweden may be completely digital in just a few years, if researchers Niklas Arvidsson of KTH and Jonas Hedman of Copenhagen School of Economics are to be believed. The pair estimate that cash will no longer be used or accepted by Swedish retailers by 2023, at the earliest.

Polling various Swedish retailers revealed that about half expect to stop accepting cash by 2025. Currently, 97 percent of all retailers accept cash payments, but only 18 percent of all transactions actually involve cash.

Card or Smartphone?

Interestingly, mobile payments are performing rather poorly. Credit and Debit cards are the primary way people pay, with mobile pay apps accounting for only 0.4 percent. It’s unclear why only a small amount of people seem to use them; it could be a matter of convenience, trust, or simply knowing how. According to Arvidsson, people are generally comfortable with paying digitally in some way, even if they never see the money leave their hands.

“We are a small country that has had a very stable democracy for a long time,” Arvidsson said. “For us, it’s no problem that the money is only visible on an internet site – we trust it.”

Consumers are largely facilitating the change, though banks have also done their part to push people away from cash, as they want to reduce the risk of robbery. Retailers share this sentiment.

“We wanted to minimise the risk of robberies and it’s quicker with the customers when they pay by card,” says bakery manager Victoria Nilsson, speaking with the BBC in September. “It’s been mainly positive reactions.”

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Sweden Passes New Law to Become Carbon Neutral By 2045

Approaching Carbon Neutrality

Sweden has passed a law via cross-party committee that dedicates the country to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2045. This makes Sweden the first nation to adopt serious post-Paris Accord goals; its previous aim was to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. This new law requires an action plan to be updated every four years, and creates an independent Climate Policy Council to ensure its goal is met.

Sweden is already operating with 83 percent renewable energy, split between hydropower and nuclear energy. This high level of success reflects an earlier target — which they beat eight years early — of 50 percent renewables by 2020. Moving forward, the nation’s strategy will focus heavily on reducing domestic emissions by at least 85 percent, in large part through the increased use of electric vehicles and biofuels. The rest of this carbon neutral goal will be met by investing abroad or planting trees.

Image Credit: Simon Smiler/Flickr
Image Credit: Simon Smiler/Flickr

Since the U.S.’s unpopular decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord, other countries are also stepping up their efforts. India, China, Canada, France, and EU leaders have all reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris goals. Femke de Jong of Carbon Market Watch tells New Scientist that other countries in the EU will likely announce more ambitious goals, “With the Trump decision to get out of the Paris agreement, Europe is more united than ever and wants to show leadership to the world.”

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Sweden Passes Law to Be Completely Carbon Neutral by 2045

Sweden’s New Goals

Yesterday, June 15, the Swedish government passed a proposal intended to make the country carbon neutral by 2045. The legislation was approved by a 254 to 41 majority (86 percent) and will take effect on January 1, 2018. The drafters of the proposal call it the “most important climate reform in Sweden’s history.”

The law is divided into three key areas:

  • A climate act that forces the government to provide an environment report every year and to draw up a targeted plan every four years, as well as compels it to base policy on the legislation’s climate goals
  • Climate goals that include a minimum 63 percent decrease in emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and at least a 75 percent decrease by 2040, as well as complete carbon neutrality by 2045
  • The establishment of a Climate Policy Council that will carry out an “independent assessment of how the overall policy presented by the Government is compatible with the climate goals”

As part of the Paris Climate Agreement, Sweden originally planned to be carbon neutral by 2050. By bringing this target forward by five years, it becomes the first nation to set a significantly higher standard for itself since the 2015 adoption of the agreement.

According to Climate Home, Gareth Redmond-King, the head of climate and energy at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), responded to the legislation passing in a statement: “Today is an important victory, not only for Sweden, but for everyone who cares about the future of our environment.”

A Global Impact

Paris Climate Agreement
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Sweden’s signing of the Paris Climate Agreement meant that the country agreed to efforts to limit the global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). To meet that goal, 50 percent of the world’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2060, according to a study by the University of Maryland. Sweden’s new legislation of becoming a completely carbon neutral nation by 2045 is taking that to the next level.

The Paris Agreement, which has now been ratified by 148 countries out of 197 at the convention, is a vital step toward saving the world that humans are on the path to destroying. Though United States President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement earlier this year was met with acerbic criticism by domestic and international parties, if other countries strive to exceed rather than just meet the goals of the agreement — as Sweden, the United Kingdom and China have all done — the cumulative effect could help alleviate the burden caused by the U.S.’s decision.

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