Like many other countries, Sweden is massively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Concerns about its social and economic consequences overshadow other public debates, including a transformation to a fossil-free welfare state. The Corona crisis brought Sweden’s ambition to become the world’s first fossil-free welfare state by 2045 to a critical junction: Calls for a green recovery compete with demands to support carbon-intensive growth. The current crisis offers both a window of opportunity and an essential threat to ambitious climate action.

This urgent research project asks how various climate initiatives led by the government, businesses, and civil society, respond and adapt to the crisis. Is the pandemic perceived as an opportunity or a risk to climate mitigation? How do climate initiatives (understood as state-led and non-state climate action and public-private coalitions) mobilize support, and what do they change? We will run a survey in conjunction with 30 qualitative interviews with experts from three types of climate initiatives: the business-oriented Haga Initiative, the government-initiated Fossil Free Sweden, and the social movement Fridays for Future. We will shed light on how they respond to and navigate through the crisis, focusing on their goals, arguments, and strategies. Results will contribute to emerging debates like the Swedish Climate Policy Council’s plan to evaluate the effects of the Corona crisis on Sweden’s progress towards climate neutrality by 2045.

Contact: Jens Marquardt