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Time to get tough on EU carbon emissions, says Swedish politician

Radio Sweden and YLE News

Where does the Green Party stand in the upcoming European Union parliament elections? In a Radio Sweden interview, second candidate on the list for the Greens Peter Eriksson outlines the party’s top priorities.

Although he would be a newcomer to the EU parliament, Eriksson is a veteran of politics in Sweden, having served more than a decade in the Swedish parliament and two terms as party spokesman. He is currently head of the parliament’s constitutional committee.

But a tough campaign lies ahead for Europe’s Green parties. Polling numbers show the political group at the European level expecting to lose votes in May’s election. Eriksson, the Swedish Green Party’s number two candidate after Isabella Lövin, said the economic downturn has drawn away voters from the party’s platform.

“People are reaching for easy answers to the hard and difficult economic questions,” he said.

Eriksson said the party is placing a heavy emphasis on fighting the political deadlock over climate change. He said that tackling global warming is Europe’s biggest challenge over the next five years and he wants to see a new climate law that places tougher demands on member states to cut their carbon emissions.

“We don’t have to lean on fossil fuels because it will be the ruin of us all,” Eriksson said.

As for his inexperience at the EU parliament, Eriksson said his long political career in Sweden has left him well prepared to work at a European level.

“I have been traveling to Brussels for 10 years,” he said. “So I’m not too anxious about that.”

Finland meets first Kyoto benchmark

Finland has met the first goals of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

According to data released by Statistics Finland, Finland has succeeded in fulfilling its emission reduction target for the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by placing binding limits on industrialized countries.

The numbers show that between 2008 and 2012 emissions in Finland dropped to 5 percent below the levels specified for Finland in the accord. Actual data submitted to Statistics Finland last December varied from preliminary data by just 0.01 percent.

Greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 fell by 5.9 million tons of carbon dioxide compared to the previous year, 2011 to reach 61 million tons. Emissions reductions were reported in all sectors of industry, but declined most in the energy sector, where emissions fell by 10 percent.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.