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Miljöpartiet de Gröna climate change campaign

Waiting for results on election night
Waiting for results on election night

The Swedish Green Party, Miljöpartiet de Gröna, is expected to join the new national government in Sweden for the first time after this week’s election. After previous Green successes, including a carbon tax, their 2014 election campaign featured a strong focus on global warming, including major announcements, local stunts and cooperation with German Greens to stop Swedish coal mining in Germany - with some success.

Australian Greens member Patrick Tobin was in Sweden during the election and provides his reflections on the campaign below.

Sweden's Green Party looks set to play a role in the new Swedish Government for the first time in its 33 year history following the Swedish elections held on 14 September 2014. Whilst it is too early know exactly what role the party will play, it campaigned very strongly on the need for strong action on climate change - as evidenced by the many climate related campaign banners that were hard to ignore - and would have an expectation that stronger action on climate will be acted on by the new government.

In the last week of the campaign a group of around 20 representatives from Green parties in Eastern Europe, Africa and South America arrived to observe and assist with the campaign. On arrival in Stockholm they were able to share their experiences in advancing green issues in their own countries and were also given briefings on the operation of the Swedish system of government and politics as well as the key campaign issues. In the last few days before election day, they split up and headed off to assist local campaigns across the country - and to observe at first hand the cut an thrust of local politics in the context of national campaign.

From a personal perspective, it was heartening to see the need for strong action on climate change acknowledged across the Swedish political spectrum. One campaign theme from the Centre Party (part of the conservative alliance group) was greater support for renewable energy, for example. It is less clear, however, that political leaders from all the other parties share a willingness to match this acknowledgement with a commitment to strong action - or that they will push for it if invited into the government. Still it was a refreshing environment in contrast with the climate denialism that has become entrenched on the conservative side of politics in many of the Anglo-Saxon countries especially Australia and Canada.

Whilst a change of government should herald a greater commitment to climate action is Sweden, it should also be acknowledged that the very strong vote of 15% for the Swedish Greens in the European elections, held in May this year, did not translate to a stronger vote for the Greens in the national election - with just under 7% representing a very slight dip from the vote achieved in 2010. Rather the vote for the main conservative party (Moderaterna) fell significantly - with many voters switching to the ultra-nationalist Sweden Democrat party, which reflects a similar pattern across many other European countries. This underscores the need for ongoing strong campaigning across borders to keep climate high on the agenda and to combat the impact of simplistic anti-immigration messages in times of economic and political uncertainty.

More photos from the campaign trail:

Waiting for results on election night
Matilde Bajan from Guatemala joined the Greens’ climate action: "The situation is urgent for countries to curb global temperature increase."
Let coal be! Supporting a clean energy revolution
Advocating for bicycle and sustainable transport

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