Climate becomes major Swedish election issue after wildfires

300

STOCKHOLM, Aug 9, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Sweden’s wildfires and drought have
caused the environment to become the second most important issue after
immigration for Swedes before the September 9 general election, a poll showed
Thursday.

The heatwave and drought triggered dozens of wildfires, from the south up
to the Arctic Circle as the country registered the hottest month of July in
two centuries, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius (86
Fahrenheit).

The Nordic nation, where summer temperatures are usually closer to 23
Celsius, is not equipped to deal with this kind of natural catastrophe and
asked for help from Italy, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Poland and France.

An opinion poll carried out by the Swedish consultancy Demoskop between
August 2 and 7 showed that 16 percent of respondents saw the environment as
the most important issue, replacing health care on 13 percent.

“It’s a shame that drought and fires had to happen in order for the
environment to become a major issue,” Michael Arthursson, secretary general
of the Centre party, told the Daily Expressen, which published the poll on
Thursday.

According to Swedish officials, around 20,000 hectares of forests were
burned.

The government last week announced 1.2 billion kronor (117 million euros,
$137 million) in aid to help farmers hit hard by the drought.

Emergency services SOS Alarm said there were seven wildfires across the
nation on Thursday. No casualties have been reported so far and foreign
firefighters have left the country.

According to the Demoskop poll, immigration is still the most important
issue for voters at 23 percent in Swedne which has registered around 400,000
asylum requests since 2012, a record in Europe.

For Sweden’s deputy prime minister Isabella Lovin, climate change and
immigration can go hand in hand.

“If we don’t do something about the climate threats then we’re going to
have hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing hurricanes, drought and crop
failures,” she told Expressen.

image_printPrint