Fossil-Free Sweden

Sameer Kumar
October 2, 2017

Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2016


Because of the research done into the dangers of global warming, there has recently been an increased push from countries around the world to try to use less energy in the form of fossil fuels, the leading cause of global warming. Instead, many countries are pushing for an increased use in renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind energy. In particular, Sweden has been a leader in this push, as they have pledged to be the first country in the world to become completely fossil-free. [1] But that is no easy task. This paper will attempt to examine how Sweden's government and people plan on accomplishing this goal through different initiatives and programs.

Fossil Free Sweden

Already, Sweden is leading Europe in terms of percentage of renewable energy used. However, the first thing that is required to accomplish turning all of Sweden fossil-free is money. Sweden's government has said that they will invest in different types of clean energy including solar energy, wind energy, and smart grids. Just in 2017 alone, they plan on investing over $500 million in what they call "climate-protection measures". This includes investing in photovoltaics, which help turn sunlight into electricity, energy storage research, and renovating and improving buildings to make them more energy efficient. [1] However, more important than just spending a lot of money is getting people on board and bought in to the idea of going fossil-free, because there is no way it can be achieved if people are not willing to use renewable energy sources. For this reason, the Swedish government has launched the Fossil Free Sweden Initiative. This is basically a program that holds workshops for businesses, organizations, and individuals on how they can do their part in helping move towards a fossil-free Sweden. They try to encourage energy efficiency, acceptance of alternative energy sources, and discussion on why the goal of a fossil-free Sweden is important. In this, the government hopes to get people to buy into what they are trying to do. So far, they have said that there has been a broad sense of commitment from the people and a belief that Sweden can in fact become entirely run on renewable energies. [2]

Leading by Example

Overall, fossil-free Sweden is doing a small part in helping the world fight global warming, but has created a great example for other countries to follow. If more and more countries can start following Sweden's lead and trying to push towards a fossil-free world, the dangers of global warming will greatly decrease. [3] Although it is not easy and will require a lot of money and work, the benefits of a clean and safe environment is far greater, and what people do today will help future generations immensely.

© Sameer Kumar. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] A. Hirtenstein, "Sweden Boosts Renewables to Become First Fossil-Fuel-Free Nation," Bloomberg, 24 May 16.

[2] S. Osborne, Sweden Phases Out Fossil Fuels in Attempt to Run Completely Off Renewable Energy," The Independent, 25 May 16.

[3] S. Alexander, K. Nicholson, and J. Wiseman, "Fossil Free: The Development and Significance of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement," Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, MSSI Issues Paper No. 4, September 2014.