In 2017, the Swedish Parliament adopted a new climate policy framework that lays the foundations for an ambitious decarbonization of all sectors in Swedish society. The aim is to turn Sweden into the first fossil-free welfare state by 2045.
The project Just transformation: The places, politics and ethics of fossil free society is led by researchers from Linköping University, in collaboration with the University of Newcastle (UK). The research group combines expertise in climate politics and governance studies, transformations research, and ethnographic studies of nature, culture and identity.
In three podcast episodes, people who live in Lysekil meet to discuss differing opinions about the transition, what one can learn from history, and which dreams and fears they have about the future. While having different perspectives, they share the same place . What do the people who live and work there think about this?
Episode 1: Elisabeth and Mari, Lysekil, Sweden
Elisabeth and Mari have lived in Lysekil for a long time. Elisabeth was there when the refinery was built and worked there for many years. Mari has been engaged for decades in the environmental movement and was active in the protests against the refinery expansion in 2020. Here they meet to talk about what Lysekil would look like without its refinery, and whether one can be too old for a transition.
Elisabeth questions the popular and local support for the environmental movement and asks whether these are to be considered instead a group of professional activists. Mari offers several examples of people, from Lysekil, who are involved in environmental causes. She also suggests that these initiatives, albeit small, are important for imagining what Lysekil can be in the future.
Episode 2: Mia & Annie, Lysekil, Sweden
Mia is a member of the green party, researching marine environments. Annie is a social democrat who worked at the refinery for over a decade. In their conversation, they provide different stories about what the refinery has meant for them personally and for Lysekil as a place. They talk about how new jobs can be created in the future and what kind of politics that are needed for the transition.
Both Mia and Annie believe that industries have great importance for the identity of towns like Lysekil. While they do not agree on the period it will take to transition or decarbonize industry, both Mia and Annie see the need for new industries to establish themselves in and around Lysekil.
Episode 3: Anders & Inge, Lysekil, Sweden
Anders moved to Lysekil in order to work for Preemraff at the refinery. Inge has through his work at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency argued against the continued operation of the refinery. In their conversation, they reason back-and-forth on whether the refinery should remain or be closed down.
Anders argues that the refinery should not be hindered in its operations, seeing as its’ carbon emissions are more efficient than international competitors. Inge, by contrast, discards the viability of the refinery sector as such, and describes why Preemraff in particular should be dismantled. Apart from promoting Sweden’s efforts to achieve its climate goals, Inge questions the viability of politics that seek to sustain today’s global population. Anders argues instead for a transition politics that safeguard the interests of current populations.