Published 2021-03-25

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SEK 40 million for research on how to achieve a fossil-free future

Mistra’s Board has decided to award funding for FAIRTRANS, the programme proposal, with Stockholm University as its main applicant, submitted in response to the ‘Societal Transformations for Climate Action’ call. Mistra and Formas will co-fund this research programme, aimed at paving the way for a fair, fossil-free future.

The Fair Transformations to a Fossil Free Future research programme (FAIRTRANS) will, with civil society’s experience and commitment, facilitate and speed up an equitable climate transition. The programme is to be awarded a total of SEK 40 million over four years, with Mistra and the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) investing SEK 20m each.

Thomas Hahn, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Stephan Barthel, University of Gävle

‘The climate transition is an issue with profound meaning for us. For the adaptation that’s needed, scientific knowledge is crucial, and this needs to be built up and implemented in dialogues with stakeholders of all kinds. Our approach is based on a research platform, with co-production of political and economic frameworks taking place in cooperation with business, trade unions and other popular movements,’ say the intended programme directors, Thomas Hahn of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and Stephan Barthel of the University of Gävle.

‘This is the core of FAIRTRANS, our programme in which research will meet the world outside academia and, together, we’ll turn conflicts into synergies. That’s how we’re aiming to contribute to a viable planet and a just future. It’s a fine, important task and we thank Mistra and Formas for entrusting it to us,’ they continue.

Åsa Moberg, Programmes Director at Mistra, comments: ‘It’s pleasing and inspiring that we received as many as 11 applications, with great breadth, in response to the call. The programme now awarded funding represents a powerful bid to promote the utterly crucial transition to a fair, fossil-free future. The consortium has great expertise and includes strong commitments from various civil society organisations.”

Plan to develop socially accepted climate action

The vision of FAIRTRANS is to generate a societal transformation that helps us to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, with respect for planetary boundaries and social objectives. Developing socially accepted climate measures is a substantial part of the programme. The work will be based on the programme’s development of a carbon budget compatible with the Paris Agreement. Together, academia, civil society and other stakeholders, with their varying perspectives, will devise scientifically underpinned strategies and frameworks that are perceived as fair, justified and effective.

Åsa Moberg, Programmes Director at Mistra

‘The programme focuses on the Swedish context, such as the currently conflicting goals associated with bioenergy that are challenging a transformation. With its participants’ solid experience and knowledge of climate-policy processes, well supported by a stable scientific foundation, we see that this programme can make a difference,’ Moberg says.

Stockholm University will be the programme host. Other stakeholders involved include the Universities of Gävle, Uppsala and Lund; KTH Royal Institute of Technology; IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute; the Global Challenge think tank; the Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO) and two other central trade union organisations — the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees (TCO) and the Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations (SACO) — with their member unions; Fossil Free Sweden; the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation; the Swedish Cooperative Union; the Swedish Union of Tenants; the Swedish National Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence (AI Sweden); the Swedish Federation of Private Enterprises; the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise; and Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development (SISD).