Sweden has long been a country with a strong focus on the environment. Over the last few years, it has grown more adamant about the cause, going as far as to proclaim that Sweden will be the first nation in the world to be oil independent, and set the ambitious timeline of 2020 to achieve not only this, but sweeping reforms in environmental protection and energy production. The goals set by Sweden would phase out fossil fuels not only in the industrial and residential energy sectors, but in the transportation sector as well. While this may seem like a lofty goal, a closer look at the country make it look very attainable. For example, between 1970 and 2003, the proportion of Sweden's energy that came from oil dropped from 77 percent to 32 percent, with 26 percent of total energy coming form renewable sources. By increasing taxes on vehicles that have excessive CO2 emissions, giving grants and tax breaks to consumers and government institutions that switch to renewable energies, and partnering with industry to increase the availability of biofuel vehicles, Sweden seems poised to make their goal a reality.
This move carries far more than just environmental benefits for Sweden. The inevitability of running out of oil will bring all sorts of economic and diplomatic issues. If Sweden can successfully rid itself of oil dependence, it would be poised to advance its industrial standing greatly as fossil fuel energy costs increase around the globe with growing demand and decrease in supply. The ramifications of nations becoming independent of oil brings with it impacts that extend beyond their own borders. Major oil exporting countries would be put into economic hardship as more and more of their consumers no longer need their product. In particular, the already unstable Middle East could become even more tense as economic problems mount. What Sweden is doing is something that all nations will soon to need to face, and not only do major oil consumers need to take note, but producers need to begin looking towards the future as well.
People and Planet
Sweden Oil Free