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Sweden to become independent of oil by 2020

Sofia Gradin | 02.10.2005 12:40 | World

The Swedish government announced yesterday that it is launching a programme to end Sweden's oil dependence by 2020. A combination of subsidies for those turning away from fossil fuel, quotas putting limits on fossil fuel consumption, and more research money into renewable energy production, is the government's strategy to put an end to the rule of oil.

On Friday October 1st Sweden's Minister for Sustainable Development, backed by the Prime Minister, announced the government's plan to make Sweden completely independent of oil by year 2020. "Climate change is the greatest and most important environmental challenge of our time" writes Mona Sahlin, Minister for Sustainable Development. But there is also economic incentive: "A fossil fuel free Sweden would have enormous advantages, also by making us less affected by fluctuations in oil prices."

The government will be launching a programme to subsidise owners of residential houses who swap from fossil fuels to renewables. The renewables quota system introduced in 2003 will be expanded, forcing all electricity customers to buy a certain, and constantly increasing, percentage of renewable electricity. The government will also subsidise drivers of environmentally friendly cars by making carbon dioxide-neutral fuels free from taxes. There will also be more public money going into research, with the aim of developing more and more efficient renewable energy production.

The government, obviously, is not promising any miracles – the "independence" bit is not in there by mistake. It is highly unlikely that Sweden will become anything near oil-free by 2020 – all the government is saying is that the country shouldn't _depend_ on oil. What the government's plan has in store for the industrial sector, and for heavier forms of transport such as aviation and lorries, does not emerge from yesterday's announcement. Still, for a government to signal concern for the environment in such a drastic way is impressive.

More reading:

The government's announcement in Swedish, published in Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter:

The Watt article (English):

Treehugger article (English):

Sofia Gradin
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Display the following 6 comments

  1. Sent an e-mail — Nadia
  2. So how is Sweden going to generate its electricity — puzzled
  3. Electricity Generation — Sam
  4. Hurrah for Sweden! — Simon
  5. traditional heating — TA
  6. Good start — Humpty Dumpty