Sweden transitioning to ‘fossil-free society’ by banning extraction of coal, oil and gas

Sweden is banning the extraction of coal, oil and natural gas and tightening rules on the extraction from alum shale. The ban is entering into force on 1 July this year.

According to a statement from the Swedish government, the ban will be an important step in the process of transitioning to a fossil-free society. This was announced by Minister for Climate and the Environment, Annika Strandhäll, on World Environment Day, on 5 June.

Annika Strandhäll - Sweden
Annika Strandhäll; Swedish Minister for Climate and the Environment; Photo credit: Magnus Liljegren/Government offices (photo from March 2022)

The government says it is giving priority to creating jobs by accelerating the climate transition. Therefore, measures against the extraction of substances that are harmful to health and the environment are needed, the government explained.

“We are tightening environmental legislation by banning the extraction of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Breaking the entire chain of fossil dependence, from extraction to use, is crucial for Sweden to continue to be a leader in the climate transition,” said Minister for Climate and the Environment Annika Strandhäll.

Minister for Business, Industry and Innovation, Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, commented: “The green and digital transitions will create more jobs and require more metals and minerals. Nevertheless, we must never stray from the environmental legislation. Sweden will also lead the way and ban the extraction of coal, oil and natural gas, and tighten the rules for extraction from alum shale to play our part in the climate transition.”

The bill proposes amendments to the Swedish Environmental Code and the Minerals Act. The amendments include a ban on the extraction of coal, lignite, crude oil, shale oil and natural gas in the same way that has been done with uranium, as well as tighter rules for extraction from alum shale.

Sweden’s move to ban the extraction of fossil fuels comes as the world is working to transition to renewable sources of energy. Its neighbour Denmark has also recently decided to speed up its renewable energy production but also temporarily boost its gas output from the North Sea fields in a push to secure independence from Russian fossil fuels.

Related Article

It is worth reminding that Denmark in late 2020 made a decision to end all existing and future permits for oil and gas extraction by the end of December 2050.