2030-Sekretariatet: making the transport sector in Sweden fossil -fuel independent by 2030

Context of Transport Climate Action

The transport industry is one of the major contributors to increased emissions that affect climate change in Sweden, as in many other developed nations. Therefore, Sweden has set up the 2030-Sekretariatet: a coalition of those parties who are willing to take action to make transport fossil-fuel independent by 2030.

The 2030 coalition consists of more than 40 partners, including businesses, municipalities, trade organizations, NGOs and academic institutions. Their aim is to ensure that the 2030 fossil fuel target is met through a combination of more efficient vehicles, a switch to alternative fuels and behavioral changes. It is hoped that these systematic measures being undertaken to deal with the transport emissions, will give Sweden global recognition. Sweden is becoming a frontrunner on this and is acting as a model for other nations tackling the issue. Thus Sweden is joining other small nations which have managed to position themselves as world leaders in well-defined sustainable sectors such as wind power in Denmark, electric vehicles in Norway and the use of bicycles in the Netherlands.

The target of achieving independence from fossil fuel requires an 80 per cent reduction in the use of fossil fuels in the transport sector between 2010 and 2030. It is recognized that the remaining 20% required to be fossil- fuel free is difficult to achieve with today’s available technologies and options. Nonetheless, an 80% reduction will translate roughly into about a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions from the transport sector, depending on the methods used to reach the target. The goals of the 2030-Sekretariatet have already been presented, inter alia, at the UNFCCC- COP meeting in Lima, with a follow- up session planned for COP 21 Paris (2015), at the World Bank and at the European Commission.


The target, and the work needed to achieve it, is divided between ‘Bilen, Bränslet & Beteendet’: (vehicles, fuels and behaviour). These three aspects can make approximately equal contributions to emission reduction in the transport sector. The groups are supported by a secretariat which focuses on four aspects:

  • Best practice examples. Large and cost-effective gains in the transport sector can be made by collecting and disseminating best practice-examples such as particular municipalities’ streamlining procurement processes or energy companies’ introducing new production methods.
  • Policy advocacy. Seven of the eight political parties represented in the Swedish parliament have formed a 2030 Reference Group. The parties within this group develop policy proposals both within their party and at parliamentary level. Policy advocacy is also done at EU and wider European level, and includes collaboration with the Nordic think tank and a further European network of think tanks.
  • Working groups. For specific issues, working groups are formed. These are based on issues identified by the secretariat’s partners. Some of the working groups are long-term, some are ad hoc and some are short-term. The most active groups among the current groups are: Behavioural Change, Biofuel Taxation, Vehicle Taxes, and Electric Vehicle infrastructure. For 2015, behavioural change has been identified as the first priority.

Outreach. The 2030 Sekretariatet is currently the most visible actor in the Swedish media when it comes to climate issues. Its newsletter, with 35000 current subscriptions, reaches specific target groups, and it has a substantial outreach capacity on the issue of fossil- fuel independent transport. The newsletter and media presence also allow the Sekretariatet to inform the general public about the target of independence from fossil fuels.


The target was originally proposed by the former Swedish government in 2009. It then was the focus of a national commission, which presented its work in late 2014. The current Swedish government has retained the ambitious target.

The approximately 40 organizations that are partners in the 2030 Sekretariatet (see www.2030-sekretariatet.se/partners) implement the work required to meet the target. Recently started, the work will finish in 2030. The main challenges in implementation work are threefold:

  • Moving from long-term commitment to short-term actions. While 93% of the Members of Parliament support the long-term target in principle, in the short-term other commitments seem more pressing. This is why the 2030-Sekretariatet has developed a roadmap and detailed indicators (see 2030-sekretariatet.se/indikatorer) to ensure that necessary short-term actions are not ignored.
  • Moving from piecemeal to all-inclusive planning. Most policy work, on EU, national and local levels, is done with a narrower framework than the wide scope of the 2030 target. Therefore the 2030-Sekretariatet has devoted a lot of time to creating the notions of target “ownership” and “shared responsibility” for target fulfillment.

Changing public conceptions about transport from that of a car-based society to that of social mobility. Sweden, as many other European countries, is firmly car- based in terms of media interest, and of economic incentives such as employee benefit schemes. It has thus been important to switch public focus from cars to mobility, while at the same time not estranging the automotive sector, which must be onside as part of the target achievement effort.


The main benefits of reaching the 2030 target are:

  • Reducing the dependency on fossil fuels in the transport sector by 80%
  • Approximately 60% reduced CO2 emissions from the transport sector
  • Improved local air quality (NO x, SOx, PM)
  • Improvements to public health
  • Job creation and better trade balance when substituting partly locally produced renewable energy sources for previously imported oil (petrol, diesel, natural gas).

Potential for scaling up

The target is in itself a scale-up process, which is clearly demonstrated by the indicators for its success (see www.2030-sekretariatet.se/indikatorer); in order to achieve a fossil- fuel independent transport sector, most of the leading actions and much of what the “coalition of the willing” is already doing needs to be scaled up. Among the most relevant and urgent next steps are:

  • Providing better incentives: Current incentives to change transport behavior are insufficient to bring about the modal shift needed.
  • Improving the attractiveness of public transport: to wean present car users away from their vehicle use, public transport needs to fulfill a much greater range of mobility needs and become a full mobility service provider.
  • Improving the availability of biodiesel and bio-petrol made from forestry waste (a non- food feedstock for biofuel); these locally produced biofuels are already available at more than 30% of all petrol stations, and at up to 50% of the diesel pumps but production needs to be scaled up
  • Reviewing renewable energy taxation. Sweden should implement a new tax regime which is firmly based on CO2 emission levels, so that renewable energy has a more attractive tax regime than today compared to fossil fuels. This taxation issue is the subject of ongoing EU-Sweden negotiation.
  • Gaining public acceptance: While almost everyone supports the 2030 target in principle, in practice little can be done in terms of changing economic incentives without a public outcry. Further work needs to be done towards public acceptance of the target objective and the actions needed to bring it about.

Multi-stakeholder partnerships such as the 2030-Sekretariatet, with its partners from 36 municipalities, major vehicle manufacturers such as Nissan, Hyundai and Scania, energy companies such as Vattenfall and E.On, fuel producers such as Preem and St1, trade organizations and NGOs such as the Swedish Association of Green Motorists, are key to reaching the fossil-fuel free target in a timely and cost-effective way.

Selected references

Website: www.2030-sekretariatet.se

Supporting, mother organization: www.fores.se

Partners: Seewww.2030-sekretariatet.se/partners



Europe, Sweden






Sweden, Mitigation, Adaptation, Freight, Passenger, Technology, Policy, Finance, Awareness, Partnerships


Fores – Forum for reforms, entrepreneurship & sustainability


Fores CEO Mattias Goldmann, Mattias.goldmann@fores.se, +46-70 309 00 45 2030 project leader Jakob Lagercrantz, jakob@equest.se, +46-708 173 808

This initiative brings all Sweden’s political parties together to ensure Sweden’s climate efforts are globally relevant and to show others that it is possible to make transport fossil- fuel independent. On www.2030-sekretariatet.se, leading parliamentarians from seven of the eight Swedish political parties represented, praise the 2030-Sekretariatet and the initiative.

Quotes can also be obtained from all more than 40 organizations involved, see www.2030-sekretariatet.se/partners/