Bo, what is Växjö’s secret to be so pioneering in the smart use of local resources? One of the biggest factors, it seems, is as simple as opportunity.
“Sweden is the most decentralised country in the world, which gives a lot of power and freedom to the local level,” explains Frank. “We have a toolbox at the local level to make a change. We have all the tools we need. We have our economy. We have our own energy facilities owned by the cities. So what we are doing is producing electricity. We are providing heating and cooling to all citizens in the city. That´s why the grid connects almost all citizens to renewable plants fuelled by biogas and bioenergy.”.
The results have been impressive. Växjö cut greenhouse gas emissions by 41% between 1993 and 2011, and reduced them by 55% by 2015. By 2014, the city’s CO2 emissions per person had dropped to one third the average EU level. And yet, more can be done in Växjö and other cities in the EU. Bo Frank is quite clear on what he thinks should come next to help cities unleash their sustainable potential.
“I think the most important thing is to recognize the local level. Because all events are taking place at the local level. So the European Union must recognize the local level. Bring more power and bring more resources to the local level. That is very crucial.”
But is there one specific move from the EU that you are waiting for?
“For me, the best thing to do is to increase the CO2 tax. In Sweden, we have the CO2 tax for, I think, more than 25 years now. And we are increasing the tax, which is very important to make it more difficult and to make it more expensive to use fossil energy. It has to cost more money to use fossil energy. And it has to cost less money to use renewable energy. That is the best thing you can do. Use the market, increase the CO2 tax and put more value on renewable energy.”
Bo Frank is not only a big fan of the Beatles. He also beats the drum for more efficient policy instruments to fight climate change. Moreover, he is Vice-President of Energy Cities’ Board of Directors.
We interviewed Bo in June 2019.