The 2007 Sophie Prize
is awarded to the former Prime Minister of Sweden
The 2007 Sophie Prize is awarded to Göran Persson, Prime Minister of Sweden between 1996 and 2006, (born 1949) for his political leadership in the field of climate policy. During Persson’s tenure, Sweden has become a leading nation on environmental policy. Persson used his position and influence as Prime Minister to address popular environmental concerns through ambitious and long-term policies. Facing the most important challenge of our time, he has taken concrete action and shown the way for other political leaders, going further than required by the Kyoto protocol.
From know how - to do NOW! is the motto for the Sophie Foundation’s 10th anniversary. As a politician, Persson has shown courage in prioritising sustainable development over short-term, populist concerns. As Prime Minister, he has used power and political space, as well as demonstrated a personal commitment. In his own words: Politics must do what the market cannot.
During his tenure, Sweden:
- Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 13,5% between 1996 and 2005. (Norwegian emissions increased by 2,7% in the same period).
- Set a national target to reduce emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. (Norway has yet to decide on long-term targets in emission reductions.)
- Committed to reducing emissions to 4% below 1990-levels in the period 2008-2012, despite the fact that the Kyoto protocol opens for a 4% increase in Swedish emissions over the same period.
- Through taxes on fossil fuels and economic incentives for bio-energy, achieved a 40% reduction in emissions from heating of private and public buildings since 1990.
- Introduced tax-exemptions for bio-fuel. Sweden has 672 filling stations for bio-fuel and 10% of the new cars sold in 2006 can be fuelled by bio-ethanol or bio-gas.
- Granted approximately 900 million USD to local environmental projects, of which more than half are climate related. More than 150 million USD has been granted for the period 2003-2006.
- Carried out large-scale awareness campaigns on climate issues and introduced economic incentives for energy saving.
- Started an ambitious expansion of Swedish railways, equivalent to more than twice the per capita investments in Norwegian railways.