Swedish climate footprint growing; rules for petrol to be loosened

Radio SwedenEye on the Arctic

While Sweden is contributing less gas to the atmosphere, that only applies to what is produced within the country’s borders. Sweden is causing more pollution overseas, says a report by Swedish public television SVT.

The prime minister has said that Sweden’s climate changing emissions have shrunk by 20 percent since 1990, even as the economy has grown. But the total contribution to the greenhouse effect made by Swedes has increased by 15 percent, says Lars Westermark at the country's environmental protection agency.

Travel abroad by Swedes and goods imported to Sweden are responsible for the big difference between domestic and total climate emissions.

Westermark says the total figure for all Swedish consumption is a better indicator of whether Sweden has managed to create a sustainable society. And he says the situation is worsening.

Petrol plan a 'setback for environment,' critics say

The Swedish government wants to relax rules for what fuels gas stations must sell in an effort to keep more businesses afloat.

Starting Aug. 1, only half of the nation’s gas stations will have to sell environmentally friendly fuels like ethanol.

The country’s 2,800 fueling stations are currently required by law to sell environmentally-friendly alternatives to gasoline, something that is a steep investment with a low return for some businesses in rural areas. Only those selling less than a thousand cubic meters of gas a year are exempt.

Industry Minister Annie Lööf told Swedish Radio News that the change would protect small businesses out in the Swedish countryside.

Svante Axelsson, secretary general for the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, believes the proposal is a setback for the environment.

“This is another step toward giving up the ethanol initiative,” said Axelsson. “The sign is that they do not seem to want ethanol

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.