Degrowth in Swedish Climate Politics

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för globala studier

Abstract: Climate change is one of the most pressing problems of the contemporary world and has lead to a number of global agreements aimed at solving the situation. In doing so, sustainable development and economic growth are usually the promoted solutions, with the argument that it will lead to increased well-being and environmental protection. However, there are those who oppose this positive view to such solutions, one example being the proponents of degrowth, which poses a radical critique of the current economic system. One of the foundations of degrowth is political ecology, a field concerned with the local and global connection, but also how politics, power and structures affect the environment and people’s use of it. Sweden and its political parties are no exception in aiming to decrease climate change. This thesis will therefore study how the central concepts of political ecology are manifested within climate change politics of the Swedish political parties and, based on the results, what the possible effects of the expressed views might be from a degrowth perspective. This has been achieved by using critical ideology analysis on relevant motions presented by the parties. The results indicate that within Swedish climate politics the concepts of political ecology, and therefore degrowth, are barely present, except for in a few instances. This thesis therefore concludes that the parties need to reconsider their views of climate politics in Sweden, and most likely in the rest of their politics as well, in order to reach a much needed sustainable development path.

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