The Swedish government's decision to raise petroleum taxes in 2016 could be a toothless measure for reaching the country's climate targets, critics say.
In 2016, energy taxes will be raised by 5 cents and 6 cents for gasoline and diesel respectively, but at the same times taxes on biofuels will go up by about the same amount due to European Union regulations. The Social Democrat-Green Party government has admitted that this, to some extent, detracts from the environmental impact of the raised petrol tax.
"We support raising taxes on fossil fuels, but if it's truly to have an impact then fossil fuels must be a lot more costly and there should be noticeable difference compared to renewables," Johanna Grant, chair of the Green Motorists' Association, told Swedish Radio News.
Sweden should be independent of fossils fuels by 2030: Green party
Addressing the criticism, Minister of Finance Magdalena Andersson of the Social Democrats said: "It's unfortunate. We should be able to have a significant cost difference between fuels that emit carbon dioxide and those that do not. We're working actively here in Brussels to encourage an understanding of the fact that we need to be able to have a different system in Sweden."
For the Greens the raised petrol tax marks a success in the party's budget negotiations, but before the election the Green Party wowed a nearly twice as high tax hike. Now, Karin Svensson-Smith, a Green Party member of parliament, wants the government to implement a new law for Sweden to become independent from fossil fuels by 2030.
"We also need to set a date for when to allow exclusively fossil fuel-driven vehicles. Only then can one dare to invest in biogas networks, pumps and other essentials," said Svensson-Smith.
This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch News as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.