Ian Fiddies | 03.07.2006 11:27 | Ecology
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 )