Environment minister Andreas Carlgren has, together with party leader Maud Olofsson and minister colleagues, penned a full-page debate article in Saturday’s Dagens Nyheter in which he calls for a dramatic cut in carbon emissions.
The Centre party ministers have laid out a four-point plan to establish Sweden at the forefront of the battle to combat climate change.
The plan includes a ban on fossil-fuel driven cars by 2025 with dramatically higher taxes for thirsty cars in the meantime. A proposed tax exemption for eco classified cars will be available for three-five years with an emissions guideline of 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.
Ethanol-fuelled cars will remain as an eco-car alternative but will be subject to tougher fuel-efficiency regulations, Andreas Carlgren argued as the Centre party meets for its future convention this weekend.
Strong reactions from the troubled Swedish car industry have not been slow in coming however. Saab Automobile’s Anna Petré said to news agency TT that it would be “clumsy of the government” to rush through the tougher regulations just as Saab and Volvo were negotiating for state support to enable them to retain production in Sweden.
“Just at the moment it is important for the government to consider employment opportunities,” Petré warned.
Volvo’s Anders Kärrberg joined Petré is calling for restraint.
“It would be very expensive for us manufacturers to tailor-make models after it,” Kärrberg said of Anders Carlgren’s proposal.
The ministers’ four point plan also calls for an increase in railway investment to expand capacity by 45 percent and strive to meet demand for climate-conscious travel in Sweden.
Furthermore the ministers call for major investment in renewable energy resources and they praised the electricity certificate system that has contributed to an historic wave of investment in the energy sector.
Finally the ministers conclude their plan of action with a call for the encouragement of sustainable residential construction with the prospect of a total ban on the use of fossil fuels to heat homes by 2020.
The Centre party suggests the use of state subsidies to the construction sector, the so-called ROT subsidy, that will be focused on initiatives for efficient energy use.
The ministers underlined that Sweden, as a relatively small country, can not save the world environment all on its own and emphasized the importance of international cooperation to address the challenges faced by the global community.
The ministers concluded that Swedish investment in environmental technology and leadership in the issue is needed to contribute to advances in the developing world and would at the same time be a force for job creation, business and growth.
Together with Maud Olofsson and Andreas Carlgren, the agriculture minister Eskil Erlandsson and infrastructure minister Åsa Torstensson stand behind the proposal.