Railway tracks and trains in Stockholm, Sweden

Railway tracks and trains in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo: petekarici / Getty Images

This paper investigates the demand-side aspects of a just low-carbon transition, with a focus on the transport and food sectors in Sweden. It combines footprint analysis and sociodemographic and geographic analysis with an assessment of the distributional impacts of low-carbon transition policies from the perspectives of wealth, access, and health.

The study finds variations in carbon footprint categories between those with higher or lower income and living in higher or lower density areas. It also finds varying degrees of ability to cope with the required shifts in the food and transport sectors. About 40 % of the Swedish population appears to be at higher risk from the adverse impacts on wealth and access related to policies aiming at low-carbon transition, because this cohort depends heavily on cars and is less able to cope with the increased price of carbon-intensive goods that these policies are expected to entail.

The study also finds that, collectively, those most at risk of losing are responsible for 41 % of consumption-based emissions. The paper goes on to discuss implications for low-carbon transition policy measures and transitional assistance policy. Overall, it highlights the need for targeted, well-planned policies for emissions reductions and transitional assistance to support a fair low-carbon transition for all.