The Swedish Prime Minister, Göran Persson, has founded a non-political
committee with the intent of making Sweden fossil fuel-independent by 2020.
The members of the committee include Professor Christian Azar of Chalmers University
of Technology, Leif Johansson, CEO of Volvo Group, makers of trucks, buses and
heavy machinery, Birgitta Johansson Hedberg, CEO of the Swedish Farmers Supply
and Crop Marketing Association and Christer Segersten, chairman of the Södra
member-owned forestry group as well as representatives for the energy sector
The committee will study and propose measures and mitigation over the next
six months, and will present their findings and suggestions this summer.
An initial hearing in front of an assembled audience of journalists and other
interested people were held 13:th of December. As a public government hearing
it is available as a series of TV web casts from the Swedish government's website.
The hearing began with a speech the Prime Minister stating that we are about
to experience the oil peak and so need to assess measures to mitigate its effects
and to transform society to adapt to this, including looking on how transport
and car use will look in the future. PM Persson underscored that Sweden is very
fortunate to have vast agricultural and forestry resources, and to have excellent
access to fresh water and no need for irrigation.
After the Prime Minister, ASPO chairman Kjell Aleklett gave a short lecture
introducing peak oil to the assembled audience, and he was followed by the CEO
of the Swedish Petroleum Association and professor Sven Kullander of the Royal
Swedish Academy of Sciences. After lunch there were lectures on climate change
by professor Christian Azar and Gunn Persson of Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological
Institute, and statements from committee members, including Volvo CEO Leif Johansson.
Volvo has done
research into future fuels for commercial vehicles and mentioned peak oil
before, and is converting one of it's factories to 100% renewable energy.
The general theme of the hearing was one of Swedish style consensus and non-confrontation,
and one can but assume that biofuels, both for transport and electricity generation
and heating will be the focus of the committees work.
Today Sweden gets almost all of it's electricity from nuclear and hydroelectric
power, and mostly relies on fossil fuels only for transport; most of the heating
has been converted to electric space heating, biofuels and waste recycling,
with a small percentage remains fossil fuelled. A 1980 referendum decided that
nuclear power is to be phased out, although this has been severely delayed so
far, with the exception of the mothballing of the Barsebäck 1 and 2 reactors.
Recently there has been trend in Sweden towards increased sales of flexifuel
E85 (ethanol) vehicles and fuel, and there are projects underway increase native
production of ethanol and synthetic fuels from forest industry waste.
Perhaps doing some planning of his own, the Prime Minister Göran Persson,
has acquired a large forest property and manor, beautifully located on an inland
Material in Swedish may be found at:
Comittee members pressrelease:
Pressrelease and agenda for the hearing: