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Want To Ban New Gas & Diesel Cars? Look To Sweden To See How It’s Done

A fledgling Swedish government strikes forward to integrate climate policy into all areas of society.

What would it take for a country to ban new gasoline and diesel cars? Look no farther than the government of Sweden, which is in the midst of a study to offer proposals on just such a topic.

The inquiry is to:

  • Analyze the conditions for introducing a national ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars
  • Determine how to exempt vehicles that run on renewable fuels and electric hybrid vehicles from such a ban
  • Deconstruct how to bring about an EU-wide ban on sales of new gasoline and diesel cars and the phasing out of fossil fuels in the EU
  • Make the necessary legislative proposals, albeit not in the area of taxation, where the inquiry may only analyse measures and conduct impact analyses
  • Propose a year by which fossil fuels should be phased out in Sweden, and the measures needed for this to happen in the most cost-effective manner possible
ban gas and diesel cars

Image retrieved from Government Offices of Sweden

“Sweden will be the world’s first fossil-free welfare nation. The transport sector is responsible for a third of Sweden’s emissions of greenhouse gases, and thus has a significant role to play in the climate transition,” says Per Bolund, minister for financial markets and housing.

In December, 2019, the Swedish government presented a climate policy action plan to the Riksdag. The goal was to have climate as an integrated element of all relevant policy areas. The government bill, with its 132 measures, takes a holistic approach to how emissions will be reduced throughout Swedish society. Environmental policy in Sweden concerns the creation of:

  • A society free of emissions and hazardous toxins, with consideration for people, animals and nature
  • A sustainable society that is adapted to climate change

Isabella Lövin, minister for environment and climate, explained:

“The climate emergency is a serious threat to global prosperity and security if we do not end our dependence on fossil fuels and build environmentally sustainable societies. Ignoring scientists’ repeated warnings would be completely irresponsible. Sweden can lead the way and show that a fossil-free world is not only possible but can also promote our prosperity and our companies. In a unique move, Sweden is moving forward with an action plan and the fundamental approach that consideration of the climate must be incorporated into everything we do in society.”

The inquiry’s terms of reference are grounded in the “January Agreement,” which is the policy agreement between the Swedish Social Democratic Party, the Centre Party, the Liberal Party, and the Green Party. There are 73 total points to the January Agreement, which contains a large number of concessions by the government on socioeconomic issues.

The Swedish government is attempting to exert greater efforts to integrate climate policy into all relevant policy areas, so that Sweden will have net zero atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest. That will take serious consideration, as it will require reviewing all relevant legislation to ensure that the climate policy framework has an intended impact.

Because Sweden’s national philosophy looks to many environmental issues and their global nature, a large part of its climate policy action planning takes place in collaboration with other countries.

The final report is to be presented by 01 February 2021.


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Written By

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. She's won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. As part of her portfolio divestment, she purchased 5 shares of Tesla stock. Please follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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