The right-wing government in Sweden unfortunately won, with a two votes margin, the pro-nuclear vote in the parliament this past week and is now in full climate-wrecking gear. The political left-leaning opposition as well as numerous environmental organizations have criticized the plans to scrap the Settlement Act and the ban on new nuclear power in Sweden.
Maria Wetterstrand, political leader of the Green Party, said during the parliament vote that this decision "could mean Sweden will be making itself dependent on nuclear power for 100 more years and there will be 100,000 years of consequences for future generations who will have to take care of the waste."
If the opposition gets the majority of the votes in the upcoming general election in Sweden this September they have promised that they will try to reverse this nuclear vote.
Ludvig Tillman, spokesman for Greenpeace in Sweden, criticized the narrow vote margin and said that: "With a narrow majority, the members of parliament show they do not take the environmental risks posed by nuclear power seriously, and that they do not trust in the enormous potential there is for Swedish renewable energy."
The Swedish right-wing government will end their 4 years in power with an rather awful environmental record. Besides ignoring reports that points to nuclear energy as an dangerous, not cost-effective, and too expensive energy solution that even will worsen climate change the coalition of right-leaning parties have also made other climate wrecking decisions. The biggest of them all must be the complete embarrassment during the climate summits in Poland (Cop14) where the Swedish government called for as much as 88% of the EU emission cuts to be allowed to do overseas in development countries. In Copenhagen and during the Cop15 meetings the Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt refused to push for strong climate targets and disagreed with Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for the Climate and COP 15 President, and her calls for 30% emission reduction targets in EU.
Other major climate-wrecking decisions include the controversial Bypass Stockholm (FÃ¶rbifart Stockholm). The traffic link motorway will span 20 kilometres of which 17 kilometres will be by tunnel. It is estimated the new motorway will cost taxpayers 27 billion kronor ($3.75 billion), although the final costs will probably end up much higher, and will thus become one of the most single expensive traffic construction projects in Swedish history. Critics to Bypass Stockholm have complained that the new motorway will results in increased CO2 emissions. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that the construction of the new bypass will result in an 80% increase in CO2 emissions in the Stockholm region by 2030.
But the Swedish government has ignored all this and the appointed Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren even had the guts to describe the new motorway as an "environmentally friendly motorway". Like it could ever be such a thing as an environmentally friendly motorway.
Another big climate letdown from the Swedish right-wing government is their failure to stop Vattenfall, Europeâ€™s third-largest energy company which is wholly owned by the Swedish Government, from investing heavily in dirty fossil fuels such as coal in Europe. They are currently building a new coal plant outside of Hamburg in Germany that once completed will become the biggest in Europe. As an energy corporation Vattenfall is releasing more greenhouse gases than all of Sweden combined.
Let's hope that the left-leaning opposition gets the majority of the votes in the general election this September so that they can stop the downward spiral in Sweden. I miss the days when Sweden was a leading role model around the world in green innovation and policies. I mean, If neighboring country Norway can have plans and targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with 40% by 2020 so can Sweden.