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ENVIRONMENT

Swedish-UK nuke power deal goes bust

So far the Swedish government has kept pretty quiet about the state-owned energy company Vattenfall’s plans to buy up British Energy, a nuclear power company. But now Industry Minister Maud Olofsson has brought Vattenfall’s acquisition plans to a halt, splitting the governing Alliance parties in the process.

Swedish-UK nuke power deal goes bust

The Liberal Party spokesman Carl B Hamilton is critical of Olofsson’s decision to halt the acquisition. Speaking to Dagens Industri newspaper on Friday, he said that it would be better for the environment if Vattenfall invested in nuclear power. The best scenario would be if Vattenfall could replace some Sweden’s older power stations.

The Moderate Party’s spokesman Björn Hamilton also voiced his concern for the matter whilst the Christian Democrats did not want to comment directly on the matter.

According to Dagens Industri, Olofsson is meant to have ordered Vattenfall not to go ahead with the acquisition on Monday. However, neither Maud Olofsson’s press secretary Frank Nilsson nor Vattenfall’s former head of the board Dag Klackenberg want to make any comment on the last-minute decision at this point. There has been no comment as to whether the reasons are business or policy related.

British Energy is 35 percent state-owned and runs eight of the UK’s ten nuclear power stations. Speaking to TT back in November, Vattenfall´s former head of information Martin May said that the company had a lot of interest in the British market and already had two offices there.

ALMEDALEN 2022

Green Party leader: ‘Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament’

Per Bolund, joint leader of Sweden's Green party, spoke for thirteen and a half minutes at Almedalen before he mentioned the environment, climate, or fossil fuels, in a speech that began by dwelling on healthcare, women's rights, and welfare, before returning to the party's core issue.

Green Party leader: 'Right-wing parties want to push us out of parliament'

After an introduction by his joint leader Märta Stenevi, Bolund declared that his party was going into the election campaign on a promise “to further strengthen welfare, with more staff and better working conditions in healthcare, and school without profit-making, where the money goes to the pupils and not to dividends for shareholders”. 

Only then did he mention the party’s efforts when in government to “build the world’s first fossil-free welfare state”. 

“We know that if we want welfare to work in the future, we must have an answer to our time’s biggest crisis: the threat to the environment and the climate,” he said.

“We know that there is no welfare on a dead planet. We need to take our society into a new time, where we end our dependency on oil, meet the threat to the climate, and build a better welfare state within nature’s boundaries, what we call a new, green folkhem [people’s home].” 

He presented green policies as something that makes cities more liveable, with the new sommargågator — streets pedestrianised in the summer — showing how much more pleasant a life less dependent on cars might be.  

He then said his party wanted Sweden to invest 100 billion kronor a year on speeding up the green transition, to make Sweden fossil fuel-free by 2030. 

“We talk about the climate threat because it’s humanity’s biggest challenge, our biggest crisis,” he said. “And because we don’t have much time.” 

In the second half of his speech, however, Bolund used more traditional green party rhetoric, accusing the other political parties in Sweden of always putting off necessary green measures, because they do not seem urgent now, like a middle-aged person forgetting to exercise. 

“We know that we need to cut emissions radically if we are even going to have a chance of meeting our climate goal, but for all the other parties there’s always a reason to delay,” he said. 

“We are now seeing the curtain go up on the backlash in climate politics in Sweden. All the parties have now chosen to slash the biofuels blending mandate which means that we reduce emissions from petrol and diesel step for step, so you automatically fill your tank in a greener way. Just the government’s decision to pause the  reduction mandate will increase emissions by a million tonnes next year.” 

The right-wing parties, he warned, were also in this election running a relentless campaign against the green party. 

“The rightwing parties seem to have given up trying to win the election on their own policies,” he said. “Trying to systematically push out of parliament seems to be their way of trying to take power. And they don’t seem above any means. Slander campaigns, lies, and false information have become every day in Swedish right-wing politics.” 

He ended the speech with an upbeat note. 

“A better, more sustainable world is possible. There is a future to long for. If you give us a chance then that future is much closer than you think!”

Read the speech here in Swedish and here in (Google Translated) English. 

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