Swedish Election 2018

Opinion poll for August 2018. Social Democrats (S), Left party (V), Green party (MP), Moderate party (M), Liberals (L), Centre party (C), Christian party (KD), Sweden democrats (SD), Feministic party (FI), Other (Ö). Source: val.digital

The five most important issues to voters in the 2018 election are: health care (44%), education (26%), immigration (25%), law and order (24%), and environment (23%) according to a poll in the newspaper Daily News (DN, 2018).

That environment/climate change is now one of the five top issues for voters this election is due to the extreme heat, droughts and massive wildfires this summer. The extreme weather this summer hit farmers really hard and exposed the governments lack of quick and effective response to natural catastophies. The heat dome over Scandinavia from May to June this summer has strong connections to climate change and a broken, stuck jet stream.

Such extreme weather (heatwaves, droughts, floods) is now part of the new norm. Something many people thought was years away or naively believed wouldnt happen here in the far north. It has shocked both scientists and ordinary people and made it an important issue for the election.

Some of the better proposals for green investments come from the Green party and the Centre party, tax-switching from labor to polluting/consumption and investing in public transportation. However, adaptation efforts are way behind in Sweden and no party has proposed any solutions for that. Its basically up to each municipality to implement solutions and enhance preparedness. As such, some regions may be better prepared to handle extreme weather than others.

As for how the election turns out we still have to wait and se until 9th of September. An educated guess is that the Sweden democrats will climb to become the second largest party instead of the Moderate party. Similar to what has happened in the rest of Europe, the once maginal extremist nationalistic party becomes popular due to increased dissatisfaction and lack of real change. This is very unfortunate in many ways. Not only because their policies are non-scientific and mostly rubbish but it will also hinder further investments into climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Despite this summers extreme weather bringing the issue of climate change and managing our resources better to the top of the election it may turn out that not much will change or even become worse with a new government where the Sweden democrats have more power. 

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Heat dome over Sweden pushing people to the limit

After a busy year I have finally found some time to write again. I also feel the need to portray the very unusually dry and hot summer that we have had here in Sweden.

I'm sure most readers have already heard about how Sweden have struggled with lots of wildfires this summer. This is due to a heat dome forming over Scandinavia because of a broken and “stuck” jet stream (as explained in the video above) leading to high pressure weather over most parts of the country for two months (May-July) straight with very little or no rainfall. Only 13 mm (0.51 in) of rain from the beginning of May to late July. And temperature soaring to >30C, which in some regions is 20C above the norm. This have also been the case where I live, in the south east, where many are suffering from the prolonged heat and drought. 

Many elderly are weakened and suffer heat strokes since buildings are not equipped with cooling air conditioning. Hospitals have had to cancel operations due to the heat and systems overheating. The death toll this summer will be above the norm.

Farmers have had a bad harvest due to lack of precipitation and don't have enough hay to feed their livestock. Many have had to slaughter their cattle. The government has promised 1.2 billion kronor (117 million euros, $137 million) in aid to help farmers hit hard by the drought. But many farmers think it's too little too late to keep them from going bankrupt and it doesn't help against the lack of rain. 

Lots of wildfires have been raging in the middle part of the country, forcing people to flee and emergency measure to be put in place. Approximately 20,000 hectares" of forests have burned up. Some counties have banned outdoor fires and put restriction on water use. The government has had to ask other EU countries for help to fight the many wildfires both from above and on the ground. Volunteers have also played a  major part in the effort to evacuate and put out fires. 

Groundwater levels in smaller lakes in the south east are below average and falling. It will take a lot of rain or snow to recover to normal levels.

Air conditioners, pools and fluid replacements are out of stock in every supermarket. Electricity use is way above normal and nuclear plants might have to be closed down due to the water that's used to cool reactors now being to warm.

Trains have malfunctioned and there has been lots of train cancellations all through the summer. 

Many animals suffer as well and people have put out water bowls in their gardens to provide relief.

The only good thing about this summer is that climate change now will be a part of the election campaigns for this fall. The question is, however, if people are willing to pay for the changes that are needed. Redesigning our infrastructure will not be cheap but its a must for the future.

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