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Climate change has come much further than the Swedes think

06 July 2023

Do you think that emissions are increasing, that the technology's potential is low and that you as a consumer will have to pay a high price for fossil-free products? Then you are in good company. According to a new Novus survey commissioned by Fossil Free Sweden, the majority of Swedes have a completely incorrect picture of how far the transition has come and what consequences it brings.

According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, emissions of greenhouse gases in Sweden have decreased by 33 percent since 1990. Nine out of ten who participated in the Novus survey had no idea about that. On the contrary, most people ticked that emissions have increased, one in four chose the box with the highest value – an increase of 30 percent. Only one in four respondents believed that emissions had decreased and only one in ten chose the correct answer with the strongest reduction of around 30 percent.

Half of the respondents also believe that the transition will affect them or society in a negative way. Above all, there is concern that things that are produced without fossil fuels will become more expensive, which is of course reasonable given the huge investments that the industry needs to make and the recent high electricity and fuel prices. What is surprising, however, is that it is believed that products will be significantly more expensive than the marginal, often one percent, increase that fossil-free manufacturing and fossil-free transport are estimated to cause. Nine out of ten believed, for example, that a pair of jeans that cost SEK 400 will cost at least SEK 50 more, while the same number believed that an apartment would be SEK 150,000 more expensive if it was produced with fossil-free cement. Correct answers are 10 SEK more expensive jeans and 15,000 SEK more expensive apartment.

- This can explain why many people seem more afraid of the social transition than climate change. It is extremely serious because the ignorance in practice limits the politicians' room for action, says Svante Axelsson, national coordinator, Fossil Free Sweden.

There is also an ignorance about the technology's potential. According to forecasts, almost all new cars sold in Sweden in 2030 will be rechargeable, which barely one in five answered, while almost one in two believed half of all cars. In the same year, SSAB will have switched completely to fossil-free steel production, which will reduce Swedish emissions by 10 percent. 8 out of 10 respondents believed in a reduction of between 1 and 3 percent.

- Now we all have to help fill the knowledge gap. People not only need insight into the climate crisis, but just as much knowledge about all the solutions and opportunities that already exist. We have never really had a better position to change than right now, says Svante Axelsson.

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