Mona Sahlin, Minister for Sustainable Development, has announced an initiative to reduce our dependency on imported oil. Target year is 2020 when we’re supposed to have a society where these is always a better alternative to oil for heating and transportation as well as our industry.
Some will dismiss this as politics as usual. So it is, of course. Any seemingly courageous initiative less than twelve months before an election which just happens to coincide with the current debate (in this case about petroleum prices) should be met with a bit of caution. This is particularly true for a ministry which has specialized in words rather than action and for a government which is pressed by lousy poll figures.
Nevertheless, Sahlin’s initiative is bold and mostly constructive. Sustainable development is a necessity and a question far more important than the never-ending whining about the price of petrol.
Unfortunately, the ministry hasn’t been able to come up with a consistent policy. Specifically, any attempt to reduce oil dependency and CO2 emissions should embrace nuclear power rather than dismantling it. Sahlin knows this and therefore she doesn’t mention nuclear power at all in her lengthy article. Sweden has deliberately given up a position of world leader in this field. In the wake of Kyoto there are immense possibilities for those able and willing to export civilian nuclear technology.
At the end of the day, sustainable development – like many other areas – requires a new and different government. Let us replace Sahlin, embrace nuclear power and go forward with the goal of eliminating oil dependency by 2020.