Sweden beats Finland in climate change performance

Sweden beats Finland in climate change performance

Finland’s updated Climate Debt is $2,624 per capita and Sweden’s is $1,003. The ‘2014-rankings’ were 18th and 37th among 147 countries. The following examines the indicators of CO2 Emissions from fossil fuels, Nuclear Power, GDP(ppp-$), Climate Debt as a percentage of GDP(ppp-$), Forest Cover and Marine Protected Area.

The two diagrams below show the CO2 Emissions per capita in decades of Finland and Sweden in comparison with the world average (the grey bars). The green bars show the Contribution Free Level in ClimatePositions – the free level is determined by CO2 Emissions in 1990s and a number of continuously updated ‘indicators’.

CO2 in decades Finland

CO2 in decades Sweden

The next two diagrams show the CO2 Emissions per capita 2000-2013 (2013-emissions are preliminary estimates). The total amounts of CO2 Emissions exceeded per capita since 2000 are: Finland 44.9 tons and Sweden 16.4 tons. The exceeded emissions are the basis of the calculation of national Climate Debt.

CO2 Finland

CO2 Sweden (2)

Sweden is the world’s largest per capita Nuclear Power generator and Finland is 3rd. The diagram below shows the per capita generation since 2000. In ClimatePositions Nuclear Power generation must be reduced at the same rate as CO2 Emissions from fossil fuels, because large quantities of dangerous radioactive nuclear waste are left for hundreds of generations to deal with in the future.

Nuclear, Finland, Sweden

The GDP(ppp-$) per capita since 2000 of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia and the world average, is shown in the diagram below. The superior Norwegian wealth is due to its large oil production.

GDP, Finland, Sweden, Norw, Denm, Russ.

The Climate Debt calculated as percentages of the GDP(ppp-$) annually since 2000, of the same five countries, are shown in the diagram below. Calculated this way, Finland is the worst performing country among the Scandinavian countries. The performance of Putin’ Russia speaks for itself. See the ‘ranking’.

Share of GDP, Finland, Sweden, Norw, Denm, Russ.

The last two diagrams show the Forest Cover (and Primary Forest Area) and Marine Protected Area of Finland and Sweden. Among the 82 countries with Climate Debt in ClimatePositions, Finland has the largest proportion of Forest Cover (72.9% of the land area in 2010) and Sweden has the second largest proportion (68.7%). However, Finland has none of the precious Primary Forests and Sweden has only 4.9% of the land area (or 7.1% of the Forest Cover). Both Scandinavian countries have increases Forest Cover slightly since 1990 (however, only the change matters in the calculation of Climate Debt).

Among the 82 countries with Climate Debt, Finland also has the largest proportion of Marine Protected Area¹ (20.5% of the sea area² in 2014) and Sweden is ranked 21st (2.0%). The Finnish reduction of Climate Debt due to increased Marine Protection Area, since 1990, is $851 million, or 6.2% of the Climate Debt. Read the previous ‘article’ and the article: ‘Network of Baltic Marine Protected Areas expands in Finland’.

Forest and Marine, Finland

Forest and Marine, Sweden

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Hypothetical example no 1: If Finland had increased the Primary Forests from zero to 25% of the Forest Cover (18% of the land area), and increased the Marine Protected Area to 25% of the sea area, then the Climate Debt would have been $1,399 per capita, instead of $2,624. Had Finland in addition stayed at the 2000-level of CO2 Emissions from fossil fuels and shut down Nuclear Power generation in 2002, then the country would have been Contribution Free today.

Hypothetical example no 2: If Sweden had increased the Primary Forests to 25% of the Forest Cover (17% of the land area), and increased the Marine Protected Area to 25% of the sea area, then the Climate Debt would have been $65 per capita, instead of $1,003. Had Sweden in addition stayed at the lower 2009-level of Nuclear Power generation, then the country would have been Contribution Free today. 

¹Marine Protected Areas (MPA) is an umbrella term for protected seas, oceans or large lakes.

²The national sea area (marine area) is the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) stretching 370 km from the shoreline. The difference between the included Territorial Sea (22 km from the shorelines) and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is that the first confers full sovereignty over the waters, whereas the second is merely a “sovereign right” which refers to the coastal state’s rights below the surface of the sea.

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Source on CO2 Emissions: EIA, U.S. Energy Information Administration and data on preliminary national CO2 Emissions are from Global Carbon Project (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Information on national GDP(ppp-$) per capita: Worldbank (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Data on national Nuclear Power generation: World Nuclear Association (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Sources on national forest cover and primary forests: United Nations (UN) (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Sources on national marine protections: United Nations (UN) (links in the menu “Calculations”).
Collage by Claus Andersen, 2015.

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