One of the primary challenges today is a radical reduction in our climate impact - both at the global and local level – while, at the same time, safeguarding national energy supplies. Municipalities, county councils and regions play an important part in the energy and climate process, and also take major initiatives.
There is also a clear political determination to extend such initiatives and to contribute to effective co-operation in this area.
A position paper on energy and climate policy was adopted by the Board of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) on 9 May 2008, as a basis for contacts and discussions with the Government Offices and other parties.
Although many of the points presented refer to long-term factors, some deal with more specific proposals that may be modified in the light of ongoing processes and the rapid developments in this area.
Sweden's municipalities, county councils and regions are prepared to assume responsibility for a broad range of initiatives aimed at safeguarding energy supplies, fostering social changes to reduce climate impact and adapting to climate changes. In order to highlight the local and regional perspectives in energy and climate policies, SALAR has adopted a number of standpoints and proposals that are further developed in this position paper.
If municipalities, county councils and regions are to be able to handle energy and climate issues effectively, central government must assume responsibility for the establishment of long-term and ambitious goals, strategies, regulatory structures and economic policy instruments.
The central government’s responsibilities include extensive investment to develop a transport infrastructure with a clear climate profile. Better central co-ordination is called for in community development, in terms of investment, operations and regulatory structures. Regulatory structures need to be adapted to enable local authorities to adopt a climate-smart approach when developing urban and regional planning activities.
Local authority planning must be supported by cohesive and appropriate knowledge base provided by central government authorities. The Government must also support and clarify opportunities for addressing climate concerns in public procurement processes.
Municipalities, county councils and regions must be included in the national climate policies, and have access to the advisory Commission on Sustainable Development and other similar forums.
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