• Budget seeks to bolster climate initiatives and green power
  • Focus on enhancing railway and cycling fossil-fuel free travel

Sweden announced a record budget for climate and renewable energy projects.

“Today we present the largest-ever climate and environment budget in Sweden,” Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said at a press conference in Stockholm. “Sweden’s ambition is to become one of the first fossil-free welfare countries in the world and we do this both because it’s morally right and economically smart.”

The Nordic country will spend 12.9 billion Swedish kronor ($1.5 billion) from 2017 to 2020 on international climate initiatives, fossil-fuel-free travel and renewable energy, according to a statement issued by the government.

Sweden sought last year to become one of the first countries to eliminate fossil-fuel use and set aside 4.5 billion kronor in 2016 for climate-protection measures. It generated 64 percent of its electricity from renewables last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The country raised its clean energy expansion goal in November to 28.4 terawatt-hours by 2020 from a previous target of 26.4 terawatt-hours.

About half the new budget’s funds will go to the railway system, both to increase capacity and for operation and maintenance. The government also plans to invest 3.5 billion kronor in local and regional projects to reduce greenhouse gases, co-financing projects with the private sector, municipalities and associations.

Sweden will increase funds for its cycling program to 1 billion kronor in 2018, from 750 million kronor in 2017 and 500 million kronor last year. Funds for international development were set at 500 million kronor between 2017 and 2020, with some likely to be allocated to climate financing in low and middle-income countries.

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