Fredrik Hedenus joins the Climate Council of City of Gothenburg

Fredrik Hedenus, professor, scientific advisor, co-founder and member of CarbonCloud’s board of trustees, joins the Climate Council of the City of Gothenburg, a group of specialist academics who will review and support the City of Gothenburg in reaching its ambitious climate goals.

The City of Gothenburg has earned the top rank on the Global Destination Sustainability Index 5 years in a row and its ambitious climate goals have played a key role in this rank. By 2030, the City of Gothenburg aims to drive its climate footprint close to zero and, with 8 years remaining, Gothenburg is focusing on three areas that can bring the city closer to its goal: Manufacturing, transportation, and food.

Experts in each of these three fields were called to form a Council and fortify the scientific perspective on the actions of the municipality, evaluate the climate policies, and contribute with suggestions in their fields. Among them is Fredrik Hedenus, Professor of Sustainable development and systems analysis at Physical Resource Theory Chalmers, co-founder and scientific advisor of CarbonCloud, undertaking the domain of energy and food. As he remarks, much of the value of the City of Gothenburg’s Climate Council comes from its diversity: Experts from different perspectives finding common ideas.

Why manufacturing, transportation, and food?

As Fredrik explains, the answer is twofold. These areas have a notoriously large share of the total greenhouse gas emissions, hence focused action in all three is bound to have a large impact on reducing emissions. Secondly, manufacturing, transportation, and food are domains where the municipality has a large mandate and consequently, can efficiently make a difference.

What makes food so prominent in the climate discourse? Food is complex, Fredrik explains, and not just as a system. There are many ideas about sustainable food but what is special about this council is that the climate perspective is in focus:

It is important to keep the focus to some extent on climate-friendly food and then add other perspectives. Given certain perspectives, the climate footprint of food may even increase. It is positive that climate is given priority in this instance and then, of course, expand with as many other perspectives as possible, including taste and nutrition.

Climate action plans at a municipality scope

Fredrik’s areas of research cover policies, technical, and behavioral measures on energy and food systems with regards to their climate impact, equipping the Climate Council with both the necessary specialty as well as the understanding of the complexity in the implementation of a climate strategy at scale. Fredrik is keen to apply all of these in his new position and gives us the abstract of what he will steer for in the Climate Council. He also generously provides advice to other entities with a similar profile and scope as the City of Gothenburg:

Regarding greenhouse gas emissions, there are two main important policies: GHG pricing –making emissions costly– and innovation and we need both. GHG pricing is out of the scope of what a municipality can implement but innovation is an excellent action point within its mandate. Facilitating innovation and its application can make a large difference. Specifically within energy, with the municipality-owned energy, heating, and grid company, Göteborg Energi, the City of Gothenburg can influence what type of energy it invests in.

The Council, comprised of 6 other researchers from the Chalmers University, Gothenburg University, Lund University, and Halmstad university includes Frances Sprei, Professor of Chalmers, chairman of the Västra Götaland Region’s Research Council for Climate Change, the first climate council in Sweden at the regional level. The Climate Council enjoys political consensus and works will initiate in August. Karin Pleijel of the Green Party highlighted in GöteborgDirekt:

The City of Gothenburg needs an outsider perspective to examine the municipality’s climate work. The climate perspective must permeate all policy areas