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Report from the Swedish commission to reduce oil usage by 2020

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  • Ian Fiddies
    Hi All The Swedish commission working on the elimination of oil use presented its final report on Wednesday the 28th of June through the prime minister Göran
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 3, 2006
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      Hi All

      The Swedish commission working on the elimination of oil use presented its
      final report on Wednesday the 28th of June through the prime minister Göran
      Persson and environmental author and governmental adviser Stefan Edman.



      The report contains much that is positive but nothing revolutionary. Three
      areas of oil usage were covered, industry, home heating and transport. In
      general the commission recommends more effective use of energy and more
      intensive use of forestry and arable land to produce energy rich biomass. On
      the first two points, industry and home heating the commissions findings do
      appear to be well thought out and practically doable. One small point that
      could be picked up on is the idea of tax breaks for homeowners who live in
      energy effective houses. All well and good but what the commission didn't
      mention was how these tax cuts would be balanced out in the national budget.



      On the third point, transport I must admit to being disappointed although
      not surprised by the commissions conclusions. To quote Göran Persson the
      Swedish prime minister who presented the report "The private car is here to
      stay". On the bright side the commission did recommend increased investment
      in public transport, both local and high speed inter city. They also
      suggested removing the "perks tax" on eventual employers subsidy of their
      workers public transport costs.



      As to the private car the commission's suggestion was improved effectively
      and a change of fuel. The Swedish cars, by 2020 should be 20% more efficient
      and be driven by renewable energy 40-50% more. Ethanol and rapeseed diesel
      were among the suggested alternatives but fossil diesel was even
      recommended, as diesel cars are on average 25% more fuel-efficient the
      petrol driven kind. During the presentation it was suggested by one of the
      audience that encouraging the use of diesel would be counter productive to
      reducing the already illegally high urban NO2 pollution levels. Persson
      counted this by saying the more stringent European regulations would prevent
      increased NO2 pollution. I don't quite follow the logic of this answer, but
      who am I to question our noble prime ministers wisdom. In my naivety I
      thought pollution could only be reduce by reducing emissions. One other
      question from the public was "Will the Swedish forestry resources be
      sufficient to cover the proposed increased usage?" The reply was a
      confidence boosting "We hope so", confidence boosting at least in its
      honesty.



      The report is positive and it suggests a great many steps in the right
      direction to reduce Sweden's contribution to global warming. I would even go
      as far as to say it sets a powerful example globally on how we have to take
      serious measures to reduce carbon emissions. What the commissions doesn't
      admit to is the necessary reduction of the use of private cars. Sweden
      produces more cars per capita than any other country. It is therefore not
      surprising that it's premier should mention the brand name Volvo under the
      presentation of the report but completely omit any mention of the word
      bicycle. The make up of the commission could also be said to lack
      impartiality on the car question by including the chairman of Volvo as a
      member, while excluding all environmental NGOs.



      (Full report but in Swedish;
      http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/06/62/80/bf5c673c.pdf )



      Ian Fiddies
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