CCE Country Profile
Table of Contents
We encourage countries to give input on the profiles to assist us in keeping them accurate and up to date. Please contact the GEM Report (education.profiles(at)unesco.org) or the MECCE Project (mecce.info(at)usask.ca) to give input. The country profiles are also available on the GEM Report’s Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) website at education-profiles.org.
This profile has been reviewed by country experts.
I) Climate change context
Sweden is located in northern Europe and has a landmass of about 408,000 km2. With only 10 million inhabitants, it is one of Europe’s least populated countries. Sweden’s primary industries are based on trade, according to the World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal. According to the Global Carbon Atlas (2019), Sweden has low emissions relative to other high-income countries and ranks in a mid-level position.
Energy consumption is exceptionally high in Sweden due to its long winters, and the country’s high amount of agriculture places an additional challenge on the country, as stated in the 7th National Communication (2017). Yet, this issue is being actively addressed, with land cultivation decreasing and the number of cattle falling.
According to Climate Watch Data (2020), Sweden is one of the most climate-ready countries while at the same time being one of the least affected by climate change.
Sweden is an Annex 1 (industrialized) country in the UNFCCC agreement. The government signed and ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016, signed the Kyoto Protocol in 1998, and ratified it in 2002. The country accepted the Doha Amendment in 2017.
Sweden has been a leader in many developments related to climate change. For instance, it was the first country to establish an Environmental Protection Agency in 1967. Notably, in 2018, climate activist Greta Thunberg started the #FridaysforFutures movements in front of the Swedish Parliament to encourage the government to take climate action more seriously.
II) Relevant government agencies
Sweden has 32 government agencies and administrative boards engaged in climate change processes. While the Ministry of the Environment is responsible for climate and environmental policies, it is supported by various actors. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is one of the key agencies in Sweden and houses the UNFCCC ACE Focal Point. The EPA coordinates climate change efforts in collaboration with other ministries and agencies and is in charge of climate communication. Swedish government agencies involved in climate change are steered by the 2017 National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy.
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) is responsible for analyzing the work of other ministries involved in climate change and acts as a knowledge hub for climate change. SMHI also runs the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation. The Knowledge Centre houses the National Network for Adaptation, which focuses on information-sharing and societal change for climate action. In addition, the government has appointed the Swedish National Expert Council for Climate Adaptation to support climate change adaptation.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) publishes guides and materials on how to deal with climate change related emergencies. The agency is responsible for civil protection, public safety, emergency management, and civil defense when no other authority has responsibility.
At regional and local levels, county administrative boards and municipalities are involved in developing climate adaptation measures; for example, by developing their own climate change adaptation plans. The country has mechanisms in place to monitor climate adaptation at local and regional levels.
Education and communication
The Swedish National Agency for Education is in charge of formal education. It provides curricula for preschool, primary, secondary, and vocational schools and guides the schools in climate-related topics.
The Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), together with the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ), steers higher education in Sweden. Due to the highly independent nature of Sweden’s universities, the two agencies play primarily an advisory and monitoring function in terms of climate change.
The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education and the Swedish National Council of Adult Education are the two most important organizations for lifelong learning and adult education. There was no strategic coordination for climate change among those organizations at the time of this review.
III) Relevant laws, policies, and plans
Sweden has adopted several codes and laws relevant to climate change, and there has been an increase in specific climate change regulations over time. Codes and laws have the same status in Sweden, where a code usually incorporates multiple laws.
One key component of Swedish legislation is the Environmental Quality Objectives System, in particular objective 1 “Reduced Climate Impact”.
Sweden adopted its Environmental Code in 1998. The code is primarily about ecologically sustainable development, and climate change is not mentioned. Nevertheless, the environmental code contains important regulations for climate change, such as waste and agricultural regulations. The Swedish Government established an inquiry on a Climate-Adapted Swedish Environmental Code in 2019 with the aim of investigating how to adapt the Environmental Code to increase its effectiveness as a tool for reaching the national climate objectives. The results of the Inquiry will be reported in 2022.
In 2009, the Swedish Government passed the Integrated Climate and Energy Policy (S 2008/09:162 and 163). The policy focuses on raising awareness of climate issues among Sweden’s leadership and sets Sweden’s ambitious climate-related goals, such as reducing emissions by 40% compared to 1990 by 2020.
The first Swedish Climate Act (2017:720) was adopted in 2017 and came into effect on January 1, 2018 with the broad support of most political parties. The Climate Act mandated the development of a national Climate Action Plan every four years. The first plan was published at the end of 2019 and shows a significant gap between goals and action. It also recognizes that the country’s climate change plans do not sufficiently attend to gender issues.
The Climate Act is part of a larger Climate Policy Framework enacted by the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) in 2017. The Framework commits Sweden to having zero net emissions by 2045 and established the Climate Policy Council to carry out independent assessments of the country’s progress. The Climate Policy Council’s latest assessment report (2021) notes the importance of shaping new narratives for societal transformations towards achieving climate goals in the aftermath of the corona pandemic crisis.
In 2018, the Swedish Parliament adopted the National Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation (2017/18:163), which outlines plans to retrofit existing buildings and implement improved strategies for new construction, including schools. Concrete measures for education and communication are not included, although it seeks to increase knowledge about climate change in Sweden. The plan will be updated every five years. The Swedish Portal for Climate Change Adaptation specifies climate adaptation:
“Climate adaptation in society is subject to many different forms of regulation, and is based on the participation and knowledge of many agents. Regulations concerning processes, knowledge development, mutual preparedness and the division of responsibility are included in several different laws.”
– Swedish Portal for Climate Change Adaptation
Ordinance (2018:1428) by the Ministry of the Environment and Energy came into force in January 2019. It establishes how climate adaptation work in government agencies, places responsibility on the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) for monitoring climate adaptation in Swedish agencies, and lays out a framework for measuring training initiatives.
Education and communication
The 2010 Swedish Education Act regulates education in the country. It defines the Swedish education system and distributes responsibilities. It also mandates the inclusion of sustainable development-related topics in schools but does not mention climate change.
The Curriculum for the Compulsory School, Preschool Class and School-Age Educare (2011), updated in 2018, is the National Curriculum Framework of Sweden for all compulsory schools. The national curriculum is supplemented by the Curriculum for Preschool (2018) and the Curriculum for Upper Secondary School (2013), which were also updated in 2018. All of these curriculum documents were developed by the Swedish Agency for Education. Climate change is included in the national curriculum framework for compulsory schools. While neither the preschool or upper secondary school curriculum include climate change, they do include environmental education and sustainable development.
IV) Terminology used for climate communication and education
The terminology used for climate change communication and education in the Swedish materials examined by this review often referred to climate adaptation (Klimatanpassning). In this regard, climate adaptation is defined in the Ordinance (2018:1428) of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, as:
“Measures that seek to protect the environment, human life and health, and property by adapting society to the consequences that a changed climate may bring, and agency objectives: objectives for the climate adaptation work of an agency within its own sphere of operations.”
– Ordinance (2018:1428)
In the Swedish formal education system, climate change education is referenced as part of education for sustainable development. Thus, the education materials focus on the role of the country’s education systems in building the formal knowledge required for socio-economic growth. Mainly, the education sector stresses the geotechnical risks of climate change and the role of education in mitigating the same.
According to the 7th National Communication (2017), Sweden uses the language adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and communicates climate change knowledge as Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE).
V) Budget for climate communication and education
The Swedish government offers many programs that fund climate change adaptation measures, as listed on the Swedish Portal for Climate Change Adaptation. Yet, none of those options has a climate change communication or climate change education focus.
In its 2021 Budget, the Swedish government planned to spend US$ 14.2 million (SEK 118 million) on climate adaptation, US$ 30.2 million (250 million SEK) for international climate investments, US$ 231.5 million (1.9 billion SEK) on national climate investments, and US$ 32.6 million (SEK 270 million) on climate rewards. It is not clear how much of this money is dedicated to climate change communication or climate change education. Yet, in the detailed description of climate adaptation, the Government of Sweden notes its 2021 climate budget is dedicated to:
“Knowledge-raising initiatives, investigations, coordination, and plans. An important part of the work of adapting to climate change is raising awareness efforts to support the organization, municipalities, and the business community. Knowledge about climate change and its effects should be further increased to enable decisions that lead to effective measures.”
– Government of Sweden 2021 Climate Budget, p. 74
CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE COUNTRY
I) Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
Sweden has a decentralized education system which gives its schools a great deal of curriculum flexibility. The curriculum is steered by goals and learning outcomes defined at the central level. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
The Education Act (2010) ensures that sustainable development is included in schools and explicitly mentions nature and the environment. The National Swedish Agency for Education is the leading organization in charge of formal education in Sweden.
The 2018 revised Curriculum for the Compulsory School, Preschool Class and School-Age Educare includes general content about climate in years 1-3, while the curriculum for pre-school education (for children of age 0-6) does not include climate change. Climate change is included in Chemistry (years 4-6), Physics (years 7-9), and Geography (years 7-9).
Overall, inclusion of climate change in subjects is primarily based on the cognitive learning dimension, and students are encouraged to develop their own reasoning and understanding. For example, the knowledge requirements for grade A at the end of year 9 in the Geography subject are:
“Knowledge-Pupils have very good knowledge of the interaction between people, society and nature and show this by applying well developed and well informed reasoning about the causes and consequences of population distribution, migration, climate, vegetation and climate change in different parts of the world. (…) Pupils apply well developed and well informed reasoning about climate change and different explanations for this, as well as their consequences on people, society and the environment in different parts of the world.”
– National Swedish Agency for Education, 2018, p. 206-207
In addition to the government curriculum, different organizations provide material for schools to better include climate change into their curricula and school lives. For example, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) website includes links to diverse information and concrete learning models on climate change for schools.
Also materials are available from The Global school, a United Nations Development Programme project, which provides teachers with special school materials to help them integrate on Sustainable Development Goal-related topics into their teaching. The materials are interdisciplinary and encourage systems thinking, and many of the link to climate change.
Often climate change-focused educational materials developed by various actors reflect those organizations’ priorities. For example, the Swedish Geotechnical Institute has material about geotechnical risks and climate change. Climate change is also included in material about risks and accidents which was developed specifically for schools by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency.
In its 7th National Communication (NC; 2017), Sweden reports that the National Swedish Agency for Education and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency “clarified the connection between curriculum and syllabus and the national environmental goal Reduced Climate Impact.” (p.123). The NC indicates that in-depth teaching of climate change in Sweden is usually done at the upper secondary level. The NC also lists many different examples of climate change program for students. The document also provides material about transport and energy efficiency in relation to the formal education system, for example, it mentions that schools should teach students about switching off the lights.
None of the recently released climate change policy documents in Sweden address climate change education in formal school settings. As Sweden is part of the European Union, there is no Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) specifically for Sweden. The EU NDC (2020) focuses primarily on emissions reduction and does not include climate change communication and education.
II) Climate change in teacher training and teacher resources
Much of teacher training in Sweden is done by university-based education programs that prepare teachers for pedagogical strategies on a wide range of education foci, including climate change, as can be seen by the variety of programs on offer. However, the extent to which climate change is embedded in education programs is not explicitly known.
The Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) published a guide for climate adaptation in schools(n.d.) which shows teachers how to incorporate climate change adaptation into their existing knowledge and include it in all subjects in engaging ways. The guide uses four perspectives to enable students to see the connections between climate change topics: 1) the ethical perspective, which encourages students to make personal decisions; 2) the environmental perspective, which situates climate change into a larger context and brings in sustainable development; 3) the international perspective, which aims to enhance international solidarity; and 4) the historical perspective, which shows that the way we think is based on past actions that will also shape the future. In addition, the guide uses principles from education for sustainable development, such as holistic viewpoints and diverse approaches similar to systems thinking and the whole institution approached advocated for in UNESCO’s education for sustainable development programs.
SMHI has also produced the guide The Climate is Changing and it Affects You: A Knowledge Base For Working With “Learning For Sustainable Development (n.d.), which helps teachers plan their lessons and locate additional resources. The guide provides information on how and why the climate is changing; what climate change means for society; what can be done to mitigate the impacts of climate change; and how society can adapt to climate change.
The SMHI’s website includes few materials specifically about climate change: most of the materials are related to sustainable development. For example, Halmstad University and the Swedish National Agency for Education has developed a learning portal specifically for sustainable development. Climate change is part of the portal, which also includes a teacher guide on climate anxiety.
Finally, Sweden’s 7th National Communication (2017) mentions training programs for teachers to educate them about low energy consumption. This is part of Sweden’s focus on adapting buildings to climate change and reducing energy consumption. The document mentions that many courses on the “scientific basics of the climate and/or climate-related subjects like energy and forestry” (p. 123) are offered in higher education institutions. Several networks and competence centres that accumulate and disseminate knowledge are noted in the National Communication. This includes the Centre for Climate and Safety at Karlstad University and the Centre for Climate and Environmental Research at Lund University.
III) Climate change in higher education
Higher education in Sweden is governed by the Swedish Higher Education Act (1992:1434), updated in 2021. The Act does not explicitly mention climate change, although it does include sustainable development. Specifically, the Act states in section 5:
“In the course of their operations, higher education institutions shall promote sustainable development to assure for present and future generations a sound and healthy environment, economic and social welfare, and justice.”
– Swedish Higher Education Act (1992:1434)
The two main organizations in charge of higher education in Sweden are The Swedish Council for Higher Education(UHR) and The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ). Both organizations publish reports and host events concerning climate change. Yet, those events are organized ad hoc, and this review was unable to locate an overall strategic plan for climate change in Swedish higher education.
In 2017, the UKÄ published a report called Universities and Colleges’ work to promote Sustainable Developmentwhich describes what each Swedish higher education institution is doing concerning sustainable development. The report explicitly addresses environmental topics and climate change. It also describes several different climate change-related initiatives being carried out by Swedish universities and colleges, ranging from the inclusion of climate change education into nursing programs about global health to climate issues in engineering programs. According to the report, several higher education institutions were not explicitly addressing climate change. Rather, they were focusing on sustainable development as per the Swedish Higher Education Act.
A review of the Swedish website for university admissions found over 200 courses in the fall 2021 semester related to climate change in Swedish and 7 in English. This shows that climate change education at Swedish higher education institutions is widely available.
In general, Swedish Higher Education Institutions are strongly involved in climate change decision-making processes and knowledge development. The Swedish Portal for Climate Change Adaptation lists the most prominent research and education programs at Swedish universities. For example, some renowned research centers include:
- The Centre for Societal Risk Research, Karlstad University
- The Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research (CSPR), Linköping University
- The Centre for Environmental and Climate Research (CEC), Lund University
- Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)
- Sustainability Learning and Research Centre (SWEDESD), Uppsala University
These research centers each have different expertise and research interests, including policy analysis, links to health, and studies about pedagogy. In addition, many of these centers develop and share educational and communication material to engage with the public.
The Climate Framework for Higher Education Institutions-Guidelines was developed by Chalmers University and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology to engage Swedish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in climate action. Participating institutions commit to implement measures to keep global warming below 1.5°C from pre-industrial levels by 2030. A total of 37 HEIs had signed the framework at the time of data collection.
The latest Research Bill also mentions communication as an important part of the national research program on climate change (Section 8.1.1).
Sweden’s 7th National Communication stresses that the country is heavily involved in international research projects and initiatives, with higher education institutions being at the core of these initiatives. The document describes initiatives ranging from European to global projects, from the Arctic circle to the equator. Further, the National Communication continuously highlights the use of research carried out by Swedish universities to inform the country’s decision-making on climate change policy.
IV) Climate change in training and adult learning
The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education and the Swedish National Council of Adult Educationare the country’s two most important lifelong learning and adult education organizations. While there are some references to climate change on the two organizations’ websites, none of Sweden’s climate change policies mention adult learning. Instead, training initiatives are primarily referenced in relation to development aid programs.
Polytechnics (Yrkeshogskolan) provide education and training in different fields and have strong climate and sustainability themes. A growing number of programs include climate adaptation themes in response to increased Swedish public interest. As a result, these centers provide educational opportunities for people in Sweden to learn new skills and become qualified technicians in relation to green technology sectors.
In terms of adult education and lifelong learning, the Folkhögskolan (which means “adult learning institutions” or literally people high school), provide adult education. Sweden has a complex system for lifelong learning. Discussions about climate change can be found frequently in these institutions; for example, being incorporated into democracy or human rights questions. “Folkbildning” is another type of popular adult education, which often take the format of study circles which provide the general public with the opportunity to discuss climate change in an educational setting. Folkhögskolan and study associations often offer courses related to the SDGs and climate-related issues.
Sweden offers many different training possibilities in public and private institutions, often with government support. These training opportunities range from training government policy-makers to international training programs for people from developing countries. For instance, the advanced international training program on Climate Change – Mitigation and Adaptation (ITP 309) is one of Sweden’s flagship programs to train decision-makers in developing countries. According to its website, the program “focuses on how to integrate available climate information holistically to facilitate sustainable adaptation measures, and therefore places great emphasis on the end-users of climate information, as well as on technical and hands-on content” (n.p.).
Further, Sweden offers specific training programs for a variety of stakeholder groups. For example, various municipalities offer web-based training to prepare local communities to react adequately to climate change. In addition, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) offers tailor-made courses and training for businesses and other organizations on climate change.
According to the 7th National Communication, private companies take environment and climate training to receive environmental certifications to international standards such as ISO and EMAS.
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION IN THE COUNTRY
I) Climate change and public awareness
Sweden follows different strategies when aiming to raise awareness among the Swedish population. Some initiatives aim to initiate behavior change by providing more information on climate change. For example, in its 2019 Documentation for the Government Climate Action Policy Plan, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) outlines its initiatives to strengthen climate-smart consumption. The policy states: “Information initiatives for the general public can help raise awareness and make climate-smart choices easier. Also, control connected marketing communication can contribute to climate-smart consumption” (p. 198).
In 2016, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) produced a policy brief entitled Building Bridges and Changing Minds: Insights from Climate Communication Research and Practice, which is built on the assumption that “effective climate communication is crucial to building the momentum and on-the-ground engagement from the Paris Agreement” (p.119). The policy brief is frequently quoted in Sweden’s communication material, suggesting that climate communication is seen as very important in Sweden.
One of Sweden’s most extensive awareness campaigns is the Fossil Free Sweden campaign to make Sweden the first welfare state to not use fossil fuel by 2045. The project, which runs from 2016 to 2024, has different challenges and strategies to encourage the public to adopt a fossil-free lifestyle. For example, the project has launched a challenge to, “Set up a policy for internal travel tax on carbon-heavy business travel and use the funds for climate action” (n.p.) for businesses.
Another example is CRESCENDO (Coordinated Research in Earth Systems and Climate: Experiments, Knowledge, Dissemination, and Outreach), coordinated by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI). CRESCENDO is an international project which aims to improve knowledge of the earth’s climate in a range of target audiences. According to the CRESCENDO website, SMHI is responsible for the project’s knowledge dissemination. The project’s dissemination portion aims to inform “policy and decision-makers, the international climate research community, climate impacts, and regional downscaling communities, adaptation, and mitigation researchers and the general public.” (n.p.)
The 7th National Communication (2017) states that the:
“Overall objective of climate communication in Sweden is to provide useful knowledge and tools to mitigate climate change and adapt to climate change. Moreover, the communication activities are aimed to enhance other climate policy instruments and measures.”
– 7th National Communication, 2017, p. 30
Sweden’s 7th National Communication reports that climate change awareness in the country is generally high, although sustainability is discussed considerably more. Furthermore, the National Communication indicates that consumption is increasingly being associated with climate change in Sweden, leading to a growing number of initiatives tackling this issue.
Finally, the 7th National Communication indicates that the Swedish EPA strategic communication on climate change is action-oriented, and focuses on cross-sectoral synergies in relation to sustainable transport planning and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
II) Climate change and public access to information
The Swedish federal government runs two main websites that provide information about climate change. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s website includes a comprehensive list of Sweden’s climate change-related initiatives, policies, and other information. The website includes Panorama, a visual tool to show climate change impacts in Sweden, films that explain climate change in an accessible way, a series of webinars called Waiting for the Climate Forum, and information on how each person can reduce their climate impact.
The second website, the Swedish Portal for Climate Change Adaptation, provides information on climate change initiatives and projects, links to games and movies, and provides best practice examples. The Portal is run by the Swedish National Knowledge Centre for Climate Change Adaptation, hosted at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), and is available in English and Swedish. The SMHI lists several resources, with a strong focus on films and games. Formal education as well as other actors are the target audience. A notable example of climate change education from the Portal is a computer game developed by SMHI that teaches young people about difficult decisions when dealing with climate change. The game makes the player responsible for decision-making for a small Swedish city and links climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
In addition to the more general websites described above, different Swedish ministries and agencies provide specific information on climate change targeted towards the public. For example, the Swedish Energy Agency runs a websitedesigned to help Swedish households reduce their energy consumption. The Swedish Consumer Agency has a website which informs the public about climate-friendly consumer choices, such as Nordic Ecolabel, Good Environmental Choice, and the EU Ecolabel. The Consumer Agency also has a website with information about CO2emissions, the economy, safety, and vehicles’ fuel consumption. These websites are all part of a national strategy to establish and encourage environmentally-friendly consumption patterns. Also part of the strategy is the Stockholm Environment Institute and WWF launched the mobile-friendly climate calculator “Klimatkalkylatorn” to check one’s greenhouse gas emissions. Various other examples and initiatives are mentioned in the 7th National Communication (2017).
According to the 7th National Communication (2017), Sweden produces a great deal of research on climate change and provides the information free of charge. The country indicates it experiences challenges with making the information easy to understand and accessible for all; however, the National Communication notes the country is making efforts to change this.
III) Climate change and public participation
The Government of Sweden highly encourages public participation in relation to climate change and supports NGOs, Think Tanks, Businesses, and others in their efforts to engage with climate change policies. One example is the National Network for Adaptation, which brings together several national and regional government agencies to “strengthen society’s ability to deal with the positive and negative effects of climate change.” (n.p.). The network cooperates on the website Klimatanpassning.se and produces a newsletter.
Swedish NGOs and networks play an important part in public debate by providing spaces to meet, discuss, debate, and action. The 7th National Communication (2017) lists a large number of such organizations, including the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Sweden’s largest environmental organization; the Haga Initiative, a business network that works to reduce emissions from the business sector; and Stormwarning, a network of musicians, artists, researchers, experts, and climate communicators. Other organizations are listed in the Swedish Climate Website.
The 7th National Communication also reports on special initiatives to increase public participation through meetings, consultation procedures, seminars, and hearings. The country uses democratization processes to increase participation processes and many of initiatives happen at local and regional levels. For example, Sweden’s municipalities have energy and climate advisers that help citizens for free and can assist with diverse issues, such as advising business on how they can use less energy.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
I) Country monitoring
The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regularly measures public knowledge and attitudes towards climate change via two surveys: the Attitude Survey and the Climate Communication Survey. These surveys have used almost the same questions since 2002, allowing for longitudinal comparisons.
The latest attitude survey from 2018 shows that 95% of Swedes believe that climate change will impact Sweden. At the same time, 80% of Swedes think that the impact on climate change can be slowed down, and 78% believe that they themselves can do something to reduce climate change.
The 2020 climate communication survey found similar trends in its examination of effective climate communication. The survey found a significant difference in climate anxiety among the different generations, with young people in urban centers being the most worried. In terms of availability of information, 64% of respondents felt the availability of information on climate issues corresponds to their needs and wishes while, 12% believed there is too much information and 11% wanted more information.
The Society, Opinion, and Media (SOM) Institute at Gothenburg University conducts surveys on different topics. A survey from 2020 found that climate change is among the top five issues that Swedes are concerned about.
In 2019 and 2021, the European Union conducted a special Eurobarometer survey on climate change, which indicated that 93% of Europeans see climate change as a severe problem. The same percentage said they have done at least one thing to tackle climate change. The Eurobarometer survey was conducted face to face and indicated that Swedes are more committed to climate action than the European average; particularly concerning food purchases and means of transportation when going on holiday.
According to the 7th National Communication, Sweden also measures how and to what extent climate change is represented in the media. According to different reports summarized in the National Communication, Sweden uses primarily a top-down approach, where solutions come from the European Union, the United Nations, or other high-level organizations and are taken up at the national and sub-national levels in Sweden. Further, many news articles highlight rural-urban conflicts, and urban concerns about meat and consumption.
While the National Agency for Education and Statistics Sweden collect relevant data on climate change education, school evaluations do not use climate change-related indicators. Besides a qualification needed for grades 6 and 9, where climate change is one of the critical components, this review found it difficult to find information on quality climate change education in Sweden. Statistics Sweden did not report on indicators for SDG 13.3 or SDG 4.7, and the agency reports they are currently under development, at the time of data collection.
II) MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined Sweden’s 2015 Swedish Education Act (ESP) and the Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and school-age educare (NCF) for references to ‘climate change’, ‘sustainability’, ‘biodiversity’, and the ‘environment.
The 2011 Curriculum for the compulsory school, preschool class and school-age educare (updated in 2018) is the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) of Sweden for all compulsory schools. The NCF mentions ‘climate change’ 22 times. The NCF mentions ‘environment’ 188 times and ‘sustainability’ 58 times, but makes no direct references to ‘biodiversity.’
The 2010 Swedish Education Act does not mention ‘climate change,’ ‘sustainability,’ or ‘biodiversity’ at all. The Act mentions the general ‘environment’ twice.
Figure 1 highlights the distribution of references to ‘climate change’ relative to ‘sustainability’ and the ‘environment’ in Sweden’s NCF and ESP, including a total of 268 references.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.
This profile was reviewed by:
Victoria Wibeck, Professor, Department of Thematic Studies – Environmental Change, Centre for Climate Science and Policy Research, Linköping University, Sweden
Rebecka Engström, Chair, Stormvarning Sverige, PhD candidate, KTH Royal Institute of Technology