STOCKHOLM’S innovative approach to climate change was used as a beacon of hope for local environmental efforts.

Swedish MEP Alice Bah Kuhnke visited Brighton to discuss Stockholm’s ambitious carbon neutral targets and ways that the UK and Brighton and Hove in particular can follow.

Stockholm aims to be fossil fuel free by 2040 by completely banning fossil fuels for heating, replacing cars with electric vehicles and more efficient modes of transport.

Ms Bah Kuhnke said that the Swedish Green party’s role her country’s coalition government up until last year, had been instrumental in pushing forwards the ambitious environmental agenda.

She was optimistic that similar policies can be adopted in the UK.

She said: “I believe in democracy, but the people who scream the most are the ones that get heard.

“I believe the lower voices should also be heard.

“You cant just say Greta [Thunburg] is fantastic, you need to follow those thoughts and vote.

“The only way to really make change is to have goals.

“That’s what we had in Sweden. We had the first Greens in Government.

“We decided we have the goal that we should be the first fossil free city in the world. Then you need to think what do we need to do to make that possible.

“We saw by looking at what the scientists were doing we had a real opportunity to do that.

“We looked at everything, from electrification to meat consumption.

“One of the important things is to look at the social impact. How much does it cost to go on the subway or to buy a bike. You need to make sure you don’t leave anyone behind.

“We believe we can be the first fossil free city on the world, but we are a wealthy city, so if we cant we have no one to blame but ourselves.

“Greta is from Stockholm. We are not satisfied, we still have so much more to do.

“Greta is so mad. She has seen that the little things we are doing are nothing. “

Tackling the issue of solar panels and electric cars being too expensive for many people wishing to improve their carbon footprint Ms Bah Kuhnke said: “The challenge is huge to make people feel they can be part of change.

“If you want to take responsibility for your children’s futures, that’s why we need to change systems.

“We cant put the responsibility on individuals.

“The people in the middle - who aren’t climate change deniers - are the majority. They are the ones who are most important to convince.”

She concluded that the only way to convince people about the need to make urgent changes to prevent a climate catastrophe was to speak directly “man to man, man to man, person to person, me to you as human beings.”

Brighton Mayor and Green Party MEP Alex Philips who organised the event at the Friends Meeting House in Brighton on Saturday said: “We were really fortunate to get Alice here. She was already visiting the country as part of the Green Cities tour.”