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Oil-Free Sweden

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
http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=2662

Sweden Oil Free
http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/climate/sweden.htm

Treehugger
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/01/sweden_raises_t.php

Comments

Few weeks ago, the British government published the environmental and economic desasters that will result from the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by cars, and other industrial usages. We all know that this new era's energy expendure will damage the environment, but this study is said to have looked at the both the economic and environmental damages in the near future. British PM Tony Blair said that this is the "most important analysis report published under his leadership." So my question is, year after year, there are scientific reports about the threat the greenhouse gas emissions pose both on the enviroment and the economy, yet no country seems to be doing anything about it. I just hope Sweden sticks to what it says it will do in order to reduce this problem. The countries who signed the Kyoto Protocol are not doing what they agreed to do, and its nice to see one of the countries stepping up and being a role model for the rest to follow.