Feb 2, 2023
Transcript Zero Episode 25: Meet Sweden’s 27-year-old Climate Minister
(Bloomberg) -- For Episode 25 of the Zero podcast, Bloomberg Green reporter Akshat Rathi interviewed Sweden’s climate minister, Romina Pourmokhtari, who at 26 years old became the country's youngest-ever cabinet minister when she entered office in October. Sweden is known for its ambitious climate-policy ambitions, but under its new government, funding for climate and nature has been cut and the environment ministry was folded into the business ministry. In this week’s episode, Rathi asks Pourmokhtari how the country will meet its climate targets, what her first 100 days in office were like and what she hopes to achieve on climate now that Sweden is chairing the European council.
Our transcripts are generated by a combination of software and human editors, and may contain slight differences between the text and audio. Please confirm in audio before quoting in print.
Akshat Rathi 0:00
Welcome to Zero. I'm Akshat Rathi. This week: Romina, Greta and the new politics of climate change.
Akshat Rathi 00:22
Sweden was the first country to set a net-zero by 2045 target, and wants to achieve net-negative emissions after. That sounds great. But there’s been political upheaval. The new coalition government, formed in October, is reliant on support of a far-right party that thinks climate change is a myth.
Elsa Widding, Member of the Riksdag 00:42
Our efforts will never be measurable as a temperature impact. It is good to understand that.
Akshat Rathi 00:49
That’s Elsa Widding of the Sweden Democrats, who told parliament in her maiden speech that she didn’t think there was clear evidence of human-caused climate change. A different government hasn’t just led to different rhetoric. Since the new coalition came to power, the Climate and Environment Ministry has been folded into the Business ministry. Spending on nature, climate and the environment has been cut for this year, and will be reduced by 60% by 2025. Despite this, the new prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, has said that climate is still one of his government’s priorities and he appointed a new, ambitious climate minister: Romina Pourmokhtari. At 26 years old, she became the country’s youngest ever cabinet minister. Romina is a member of the Liberal party and the daughter of Iranians who fled the country during the 1979 revolution. She rarely gives interviews in English and so at the World Economic Forum in Davos, I sat down with her to find out how her first 100 days in government have gone, her thoughts on working with the far-right party, how Sweden will meet its big climate commitments and what she hopes to achieve on climate now that Sweden is chairing the European Council.
Akshat Rathi 2:08
Romina, welcome to the show.
Romina Pourmokhtari 2:10
Thank you so much.
Akshat Rathi 2:12
Now you had your own podcast before becoming climate minister. Do you miss it?
Romina Pourmokhtari 2:16
I miss it quite a lot. It's very valuable to have these sit-down conversations about politics. So, great to be here.
Akshat Rathi 2:22
Nice to have you. You became Sweden's youngest minister at just 26. Were you surprised to be made climate minister?
Romina Pourmokhtari 2:31
Yes, absolutely. I thought my party leader was crazy when he asked me and I told him, ‘This is my dream job in 10 years.’ And he said, ‘Well, we don't have 10 years.’ And that's kind of a good point. So it's just to, you know, roll up the sleeves and get the work done.
Akshat Rathi 2:44
So if you had to pick a ministry that you could become minister of, you would pick climate?
Romina Pourmokhtari 2:49
Absolutely, I would.
Akshat Rathi 2:51
Why is that?
Romina Pourmokhtari 2:52
Well, I ran for parliament on climate matters, and I believe that there's somewhat of a development where we're trying to create political conflict when it comes to climate. And I'm very against that. It's not a matter of whether you like wind power or nuclear power, or whether you like deforestation or forest use, it's a matter of doing things in a correct, intelligent, smart way, making full use of all the science that exists in these areas. And I believe that politicians have some potential of doing those parts better. So that was what I ran for parliament on and got elected on by a lot of youth in Sweden. So yeah, I'm really looking forward to actually making action out of those ideas.
Akshat Rathi 3:32
A lot of our listeners are spread around the globe. When they think about a young climate leader in Sweden, they probably think about Greta Thunberg. But you are Sweden's climate minister. What do you think about Greta’s approach to climate change?
Romina Pourmokhtari 3:46
You know, I think it's understandable that my generation, parts of my generation, have lost confidence in politics as the method of lowering our emissions and reaching actual climate action. I believe that it's somewhat understandable, but from my point of view, I want to be where the decisions are being made. And I know that even though politics is quite complicated, and slow, that's where the change is actually being made. So if you want things to truly happen… Of course, it's good to have a lot of demonstrations — for example, in Glasgow, there was a lot of demonstration and that was a good pressuring point for the meeting, but the actual decisions are being made in the room. So that's the way that I make the change that I want to see in this society.
Akshat Rathi 4:29
And as minister, of course, you've got to be in those rooms. So you were at COP27 in Egypt, you went to COP15 in Montreal. Let's just understand what you found to be different when you went to COP27. At COP26 there were lots of protests; that happened in Glasgow, in an open, democratic country. COP27 happened in Egypt, a repressive regime, where the outcomes were interesting too. How was the experience for you?
Romina Pourmokhtari 4:59
Well, I think we all learn some, you know, lessons on what we can do better next time. And I think that concerns not only us, like Sweden and the EU, but many parts. We did have some progress, it was not a step back, which I was worried about going there. There has been progress, but of course not enough. And the urgency that is dominating the work that needs to be done is not reflected in the results. So obviously, it's not good enough. And I think civil society, of course, plays a big role in that. The first thing I did when I got to COP27 was to have a meeting with a civil rights defender and activist in Egypt, and I think it's very important for the democratic countries of the world to show that this is an important aspect of how we work politically. But I also believe it's a matter of understanding each other after the pandemic. And with the situation we have in the world with Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine, and the economic situation that is developing, there's a lot of tension in the world. And of course, that is also reflected in UN negotiations.
Akshat Rathi 6:06
Now, beyond the lack of activism in Egypt, the European Union, Sweden being part of it, wanted language on fossil fuel phase out — all fossil fuels, oil, gas, and coal — and that did not come through in the end. We understand countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and China were resistant and made sure that it didn't get through. We are going to head into the UAE at COP28, which is another fossil fuel country. And the president of COP28 is the head of the state oil company. How do you think conversations will go there? Will it be an inclusive process and produce a fair outcome for climate vulnerable countries?
Romina Pourmokhtari 6:46
Well, I think it's very important to reflect on — especially being here in Davos — what future are we headed towards? And when you look at any economic report, of course, you can collect the breadcrumbs of the fossil dependent economy, but you're gonna lose on not investing in the future that we're headed towards. Leading the COP meetings is truly an opportunity to show how you can be the honest broker and bring work forward. And, if there's a meeting where you can sense that that is not what's being done, I think the UAE are the ones who are gonna lose on it internationally: reputation wise, prestige wise, you’d want to have a successful meeting. And we will not be impressed by the, what do you call it — we call it like curtain shows in Swedish, I'm not sure of the English word — but you know, the charade. It's not good enough, it has to be done for real and I hope that the UAE, as an entrepreneurial country wanting to keep their economy strong, will have that aspect when they take on the meeting. And, you know, some people tend to call me a bit naive but I haven't lost hope. When I met with ministers of the UAE, and discussed upcoming COP meetings, I see that they want to have a successful meeting. So let's hope that they succeed and do everything we can to contribute.
Akshat Rathi 8:08
When you were made minister, the government abolished the environment ministry and created a climate and business ministry instead. Climate is an issue that affects lots and lots of parts of the economy. And so it makes sense that you have something that would enable the government to think more holistically. But it's also a specialized issue, so how is it that having a ministry that is focused on climate and business is better than having a ministry that is focused on environment and climate?
Romina Pourmokhtari 8:40
Well, my government wants to gather these issues, because it's cross-sectoral issues. And we neither have the time nor the money to keep pulling in different directions, which is what we have seen for the last years. We've seen a lot of situations where companies and industries, who are actually working towards creating fossil-free goods, have had lots of difficulties with environmental permits and other things. So we've had situations that have been politically tense, where we see that we are wasting both time and money by pulling in different directions. So we want to tackle these issues in a different way. And I think that there's a big misconception on what climate transition is, and actually also creating a sustainable environment taking care of our biodiversity loss and prohibiting that. There's this kind of view of trying to suffocate the economic growth and having industries that are swarmed with legislation and environmental laws and taxes. It's rather an ongoing change to our society. It’s rather something like industrialization or digitalization. It's an ongoing development happening to our society that we need to do quicker than we're doing and we need to do it smarter than we're doing. And Sweden is an extremely export dependent country, quite a small country. And we don't want our economy to get worse, of course. We want to build on the future that we're headed towards, which is a sustainable economy. So we want to invest in that heavily by promoting our industries and businesses to actually take climate action for real and create the fossil free goods that the world is actually demanding as well. So we see the big demand for climate neutral development in the business sector, and we want to meet that from the political side and from the policy side by gathering these issues.
Akshat Rathi 10:32
There have been some reports that there will be a reduction in climate and environment funding in Sweden by as much as 60%. Is that right?
Romina Pourmokhtari 10:39
No, it's not when it comes to funding and aid, we actually we've made some priorities when it comes to international aid. So for example, we're doubling our climate aid. And we're doubling the money that we give to the Global Environmental Fund. And we're, you know, trying to initiate change. But also a big part of the work that Sweden does for climate transition is by exporting our, not only fossil free goods that we have, but also our innovation. And we really think that that is a key in not only lowering our own consumption and emissions, but lowering our consumption- based emissions abroad. So it's not only a matter of Sweden coming out at top and reaching our goal of net-zero emissions in 2045. It's also a matter of creating a positive impact in the world.
Akshat Rathi 11:28
And just in terms of sums, when you say doubling towards the Global Environment Fund and doubling towards the Climate Fund, how much money are we talking?
Romina Pourmokhtari 11:37
Oh, gosh, that's a good question. I have it somewhere.
Akshat Rathi 11:40
We fact checked this with the ministry later and found that Sweden is doubling its contribution to the global environment facility. However, the new government’s budget, presented in October, shows the country's overall spending on environment, climate and nature is due to decline by 60% by 2025. Half of the reduction is due to the scrapping of a low emissions vehicle subsidy, which will end in 2024. There have also been cuts made to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and conservation spending, among other reductions.
Akshat Rathi 12:10
On to politics, the government that is in power takes support from the Sweden Democrats because, without them, there is no majority. How do you justify taking support from a very right wing party whose members, some of them, believe that climate change is a myth?
Romina Pourmokhtari 12:31
Well, we had a really long discussion in my party — we have a high ceiling when it comes to opinions. And we had a big discussion where I was actually against cooperating with the Sweden Democrats. And we have had discussions on whether we should stay in opposition for more years, but we had eight years of red-green and red governments. They lost their power a few times because they didn't have a majority in the parliament. You know, just the situation in Swedish politics, that was not a good development, where we saw segregation growing, criminality growing, gang members and gang violence is a very big issue in Sweden. And we saw this development happening while we saw that we didn't have the numbers to form a government. And the possibility that my party decided to grasp onto is agreeing with the Sweden Democrats on specific issues. So the issues are, it's about economy, it's about migration, it's about energy systems, and things like these. But not matters that are value-oriented. So if we'd see that I'm not able, for example, as the minister of climate and environment to create the change that I want to see, I would leave the government and my party would leave the government. And this is what we ran for parliament with as a concept: vote for us for the liberal guarantees and the liberalism in this government. That is a government with moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals that takes lean on the Sweden Democrats. And of course, this is also the situation for Sweden Democrats, because it's not uncontroversial for them to cooperate with having, you know, put a liberal, young, female minister as climate and environment. I'm guessing a few of their voters are not too happy about that. So it's yet to see if we'll succeed, but as of now, I do see that we are all respecting the deal that we made and the matters that we need to take care of. But of course, we are different parties and you should not vote for me if you agree with the values that they have.
Akshat Rathi 14:27
Democracies are messy and full of compromises.
Romina Pourmokhtari 14:31
Absolutely, and I think Sweden has had that for quite some time. It's a bit of a new development, where we have a split in the voting that we haven't seen before, so we're trying to handle it in the best way we can.
Akshat Rathi 14:46
After the break, I ask Romina about Sweden's plans to build new nuclear power plants and, with the recent resignation of New Zealand's Prime Minister, Jacinda Arden, how she deals with burnout. Back after this:
Akshat Rathi 15:07
Sweden is among the few countries in Europe that has a large dependence on nuclear when it comes to clean energy. And you are planning to build more nuclear power plants or want to at least, is there political support for nuclear power in Sweden?
Romina Pourmokhtari 15:22
Yes, there is, and it's growing. And the interesting thing is, if you look at the reports, the support for nuclear power is absolutely biggest in the municipalities that have nuclear power plants. So that's where people are most positive towards it.
Akshat Rathi 15:38
And are you taking the message that nuclear can be a climate solution abroad? Because it's still a controversial issue in many, many parts of the world.
Romina Pourmokhtari 15:46
Yeah, and it's not weird that it is a controversial issue. I think that there's a lot of worries and misconceptions about how nuclear power works and the development that has been made not least in Europe — where we've invested so many billions of euros to create scientific development and how we use these techniques to get the energy — but the development that we're seeing with, for example, small modular reactors that can stabilize our energy system. And also nuclear power being plan-able, so you know when you’ll get the power, which is very important for our industries to be able to actually bet and take the risks on electrifying their industries. But it's not a matter of whether I, as a politician, prioritize nuclear or wind power, because I'm looking at those things as well. We have a lot of offshore wind power coming up. And we're looking at how we can create the optimized conditions for that. So you know, we're trying to create a robust energy system in Sweden, because we have not had that and the whole of Europe has learned the lesson the hard way with Russia during the war, using their gas as a war mechanism and pressuring European countries. So we have learned the harsh way that we truly have to switch towards fossil free, and I think that nuclear power has a part to play in that.
Akshat Rathi 17:12
Now beyond nuclear, but sticking to security. You've said climate is not just about taxes and regulations, but that climate issues are also a security policy issue. How do you think the Russian invasion of Ukraine has changed energy security conversations in Sweden? And what are you doing as a result?
Romina Pourmokhtari 17:33
Well, I think not least we have learned a lot about how our energy systems work. We have a lot of hydropower in Sweden, and that's a possibility to store the electricity as well, so it's been very beneficial. And I think in Sweden, we felt quite comfortable with the situation we have regarding energy. We also export a lot of energy, which makes people think that ‘oh, okay, we're good,’ but it's a matter of stabilizing our system and having the power when we need it. And there we have, we have some issues. We don't import a lot of Russian gas. We tend to stick to our hydropower, nuclear power and wind power, and then we complement with solar power, and we have thermal heating and you know, different methods. But as we in Europe, share our energy system and export and import a lot, we have to consider and take care. So, we're also affected. But I think it's mostly about knowledge and learning. Also, energy efficiency, using our energy in a smarter way, which is very important because in Sweden, we see from the government side a prognosis of doubling — more than doubling actually — our energy use, or electricity use, actually, by 2045. So we have to make a big development in the energy sector. And hopefully this situation with the war can speed up this transition.
Akshat Rathi 18:55
Sweden has taken on the presidency of the European Council for the first six months of this year. How do Sweden's climate goals — your policies — fit into what the European Union is doing? And what do you want to see during this presidency? What will you be able to influence
Romina Pourmokhtari 19:13
The European Union you know, me as a liberal, pro European, I'm a big fan of the European Union. And my party was very engaged in getting Sweden into the Union. So I'm very excited about the presidency and I'm truly looking forward to being able to bring the work forward. When it comes to climate action, the European Union is the biggest and the most successful climate organization, or environmental organization, that there is. There is no other comparison of an organization or a union where you create so many legislative acts and laws and incentives that are bringing forward this development and the speed it is going at is very impressive. You know, we have a lot of work to do, we have the goals, we're trying to work towards them in all of our countries. And we're not all there yet, but I think the view of it being we are going to reach net zero — that is the exactly correct way of tackling our emissions. And the European Union, we have the fit for 55 package, we have the Green Deal and a lot of different parts of that which are being finalized. But of course, I look forward to working on the industrial emissions directive, the nature restoration law. And in Sweden, we have a lot of consensus when it comes to EU matters. Because we want to take care of the view of Sweden in the EU, we have a strong stance, we get a lot of possibilities to affect the EU through our strong stance, so we all take care of it together.
Akshat Rathi 20:56
Now we've talked a lot about cutting emissions and all the energy changes that have to be made. But climate impacts are growing. I wanted to bring up a comparison here, which is that your parents had to leave Iran due to, in your words, their freedoms being taken away. It was a political revolution, and they had to flee. Climate impacts are growing and so are the number of climate refugees. Do you think Sweden should do more to welcome climate refugees?
Romina Pourmokhtari 21:22
Well, I think that Sweden should keep being a big part of an open world. And we try to do that best as we can. From 2015, we had all of the political leaders in Sweden talking about how Sweden's not building any walls, and we are the open, welcoming society. And then we had an enormous backlash. And this is foremost regarding unemployment, segregation, schools not having places for all the kids. Our society was not able to hold the standard that people expect in Sweden. And I think that that is a failure from the political side. We have to have a dynamic society, dynamic politics, that adapt towards the society we live in. And that is, my stance as a liberal, a society that can be open and welcoming to people, which we don't have right now. So there has to be one or another, you either close the borders and you're happy with the systems you have, or you try to create systems that are allowing and give the circumstances for bigger migration. And of course, I work towards the latter. But in Sweden, we have a big consensus majority, where people want to have migration that is possible for us to handle when it comes to migration authorities, you know, it takes like three years to get your permit and, and things like this. So we're trying to catch up. But I'm working towards catching up as quick as we can to be able to welcome more people into an open society.
Akshat Rathi 23:03
In 2019, you gave an interview where you said, your role model is Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. Of course, AOC represents the left wing of the Democrats in the US, you are a liberal-conservative, you believe in free markets…
Romina Pourmokhtari 23:17
No, I’m a liberal, I'm not conservative at all, we’re the Liberal party in Sweden.
Akshat Rathi 23:21
You believe in free markets, and you believe in capitalism as a way to solve the climate crisis. Why is she a role model?
Romina Pourmokhtari 23:30
Well, in this interview, I said she's my role model in not her opinions, but how she does things. I think that she's a prime example of a political leader that is in touch with the ground, with her voters. She knows what she's doing, where she comes from and she brings that with her in what she does. And I think that's quite inspiring. I think that's a type of politician that I haven't seen for quite some time and I've missed. And I aim to be that myself. I try to stay grounded and keep a lot of contact with people who vote for me and what their perspectives are. And, you know, in creating that trust, I'm able to get more things done and have more flexibility because I know that my voters trust me, that I make the correct decisions, and the media can write controversial headlines, but my voters know that I know Romina, I know what she's doing, that's probably not the whole story. And that is a way of actually being a good politician, I think. Truly earning their trust.
Akshat Rathi 24:35
Well AOC uses social media very well, especially Instagram. She reaches out and she is open about her views and talks to her audience. How about you? Do you use social media for that kind of outreach?
Romina Pourmokhtari 24:47
I used social media a lot. I grew a follower base on Twitter and that was kind of how I made a name for myself in politics. That was probably why I was offered the opportunity to be a columnist in the newspaper and things like this. But actually I've, you know, I’ve become somewhat negative towards social media. There's just too much hate and misunderstanding because you want to misunderstand. There's not that much of, ‘Okay, I'm trying to learn something here and I understand where you're coming from and actually trying to meet each other.’ There's more of the, you know, shattering. And hopefully I can contribute to a better climate on social media. But right now, I am focused on getting my environmental policies in place. I've been minister for soon it will be 100 days since the government got in place. And that's where my focus is. But hopefully, I'll be able to do a comeback on social media quite soon, and tell people what I'm doing and try to create a positive environment that is not spreading hate and a situation that I don't want to contribute to.
Akshat Rathi 25:52
You went to COP15 in Montreal. This is a COP that is different from COP27. Because this COP discusses biodiversity and nature. The crisis around biodiversity is not talked about as much as climate change. But if anything, it's probably going to have bigger impacts if we don't address it. And we got a deal. And the deal is around protecting 30% of land and ocean by 2030. Do you think that's enough?
Romina Pourmokhtari 26:19
I think it's a good start. I see a lot of countries that have very different possibilities to do that. My country, for example, Sweden, we have a lot of forest. And we have a lot of private owners of forests who use it in a traditional way. And they want to take care of their forests. They know that they won't be able to make any profits if they don't take care of their forest, as well as the fisheries. You know, if you don't have any fish to fish, you're not going to have any money either. So there has to be a way of reaching consensus and having more dialogue when it comes to the use of our nature, whether it's the ocean or the forestry or land use. We have to make sure to do that in a smarter way than we're doing right now. I think 30% is a good start. But you know, I can only look at my own country, we have quite a lot of work to do to reach 30%, especially when it comes to forestry. And so I have a lot of work to do on that front. And I think, you know, we have to make sure that each country actually reached the goals we set up as well.
Akshat Rathi 27:21
But there has been criticism that 30 by 30 isn't very well defined. Biodiversity is complicated. Species in different places require different ways to live and thrive. Another aspect which hasn't been breached, which is around what happens to the rest of the 70%. Would we start abusing that 70% even more than we are abusing now? How do you think about these difficult issues as we try to grapple with this crisis?
Romina Pourmokhtari 27:50
Well, that's a very good question. I agree with, somewhat, the hints you're making in the question. We do have very different ways of handling what 30% is in all different countries. I think Sweden is a good example of having very strict ways of measuring and counting and I see other countries that don't do it in the same way, which is a problem. And also the very, very different natures that we have to deal with. I can only speak for my own country, which is what I know by heart. And we do have a long tradition, it's almost culture for us to take care of our forests and take care of our sea and our nature. And we have a lot of laws. For example we have allemannsretten (right of public access), which is very lovely. We learn it when we're kids that, for example, you can always walk through nature and forest but you can't break the sticks and ruin nature. You're allowed to pass through and you're allowed to put up a tent for 24 hours. You know, we’re brought up with this, we have a lot of nature, we live very close to it. Even in the cities, it's a thing to hike and so on. We need to create a development where we take care of our biodiversity in a better way than what we're doing now. We do truly have a biodiversity crisis when it comes to biodiversity loss. And I think if it's supposed to be a long-term positive development, we have to do it side by side with society, with owners of forest, with fishers, with everyone who will be interested in bettering the situation we have. So that's the way we need to work forward and the legislation, and the deals that we make need to have room for that for each country to develop in the most stable way that they can. But we have to do it quicker and a lot more than we're doing right now.
Akshat Rathi 29:43
One thing you said was that when your leader chose you as the climate minister, you were surprised. This would be something you would take but 10 years on, that's what you were preparing for. But in a way you've said that you've been preparing for politics for a very long time: you debated with your father a lot, you studied political science, you then became the leader of the Liberal youth association. So now that you were thrown into this job, and it's been 100 days, what were you expecting that hasn't turned out to be as you thought it would be?
Romina Pourmokhtari 30:16
A lot of things have been surprising. I think the most surprising thing is how it is so difficult to get out the message of what we are doing, what we are changing, what are the positive aspects. And it's so easy to get the message out of, ‘Oh my gosh, politics is breaking down the environmental work that needs to be done.’ Especially in Sweden, it doesn't matter what government — if you have social democrats or liberals — they're going to take climate action, but they're going to do it in different ways. We do have very fundamental climate laws and environmental laws in Sweden; we had carbon taxation before I was born, in 1992. So you know, we're a very developed country when it comes to these issues, and we look forward to using the EU presidency to take the work forward in the EU and to contribute during the COP meetings. And this is just a long tradition we have. So I've been quite surprised having to defend my stance as a climate invested politician. It was not what I expected but you know, as long as I know that I'm doing the work that is needed, as long as the ministry of lawyers, and people who are very familiar with the environmental legislation, as long as we are cooperating in a positive way, the media picture is something I will probably be able to handle in the upcoming years and make sure that they understand what we are doing.
Akshat Rathi 31:58
And you got your dream job 10 years early. If you were to take on a different ministry, which one would you choose?
Romina Pourmokhtari 32:05
I don't know. I'm quite versatile. I think a lot of matters are important, and not one is as urgent and important as this one. But I think education policy, cultural policy, all of these matters are very important for societal development.
Akshat Rathi 32:19
Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, who was made the leader at the very young age of 37, has just resigned. And her reason for resigning is that she does not have enough energy in the tank to keep going. As a young person being put into a job that's going to be demanding, what are lessons that you learn from experiences of other young, female leaders that you would like to apply?
Romina Pourmokhtari 32:48
Well, I really do take care of that part of it. A lot of people are like, ‘how are you not burned out?’ You know, I'm like the typical burnout example: the young woman in politics, writing a book, columnist, doing all the things at once, doing the podcast. And I want to do a lot of things and I'm very eager, but I'm very strict on my time with my friends, my time with my partner. You know, laying down on the sofa, not looking at my phone and just crocheting, knitting, reading and talking to my boyfriend about things that are not political. And these are very important for me, it's a way of recharging, and I don't negotiate on that. It's very strict in my calendar, the people who work with me know that. And if I say, ‘Let's not do this meeting,’ it's not always specifically as a woman, it's also a matter of which meetings I actually should take. Just because I'm a young female politician, that doesn't mean that I'm going to meet the assistant advisor, that's not how it works. So putting harsh limits and being clear on what you expect and how your days are looking, that's a way for me to handle the big amount of pressure and the extremely long hours and no weekends and things like this. And I think Jacinda and a lot of other politicians are good examples of keeping your head high and not compromising with yourself. So she's done a very good job. I think she should be very proud of what she's done. Good inspiration.
Akshat Rathi 33:25
This was a great conversation. Thank you for making the time.
Romina Pourmokhtari 32:36
Of course, thank you.
Akshat Rathi 33:32
Given the makeup of the new government, I thought the climate minister would struggle to justify how Sweden will keep its big promises. I’m still not convinced that it can, but in Romina I found someone who seems determined to ensure climate remains a priority despite a messy political environment. Thanks for listening to Zero. If you like this episode, please take a moment to rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Send it to a friend or complain to IKEA, sorry IKEA. If you've got a suggestion for a guest or topic or something you just want us to look into, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. Zero’s producer is Oscar Boyd and senior producer is Christine Driscoll. Our theme music is composed by Wonderly. Special thanks to Niclas Rolander and Kira Bindrim. I'm Akshat Rathi, back next week.
--With assistance from Christine Driscoll.
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