Sustainable mobility, India 06 February 2008
Andreas Carlgren, Minister for the Environment
Speaking notes at Sustainable mobility, India
Joining hands for a greener tomorrow
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The climate change is creating challenges for people, companies and governments across the globe! The key challenge for the transport sector is to break the link between economic growth and increased traffic emissions.
What can be done to reduce emissions from the transport sector without jeopardizing economic growth? In Sweden we are focusing mainly on three types of measures.
The first measure is to stimulate environmental technology development. We believe that there is a great potential in increasing the energy efficiency of vehicles, particularly in passenger cars.. Both passenger cars and heavy-duty vehicles will use aspects of the coming hybrid electric technology to reduce fuel consumption. Hybrid electric technology enables the vehicle to run on either fuel or electric motors that use batteries. We se an example of that from Volvo, hear outside. Heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and busses, can also increase their energy efficiency by improving aerodynamics, weight, loading capacity and rolling resistance.
The second measure is to substitute fossil transport fuels with biofuels. In Sweden, almost all petrol is blended with five percent ethanol. In addition, there is an increased demand in pure biofuels, such as E85 (a fuel with about 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent petrol), biodiesel and biogas. The number of filling stations supplying biofuels is also increasing every year. By the year of 2010 all major filling stations in Sweden will supply at least one biofuel. Sweden also has two vehicle manufactures, Volvo Cars and Saab Automobile, which offers several flexible fuel vehicles that can run on E85 ethanol. The Swedish truck manufacturers, Volvo Trucks and Scania, also offer busses that can run on either ethanol or biogas.
The third measure is to replace road transport with sea and rail transport. This relates to both the transport of goods and the transport of passengers. Any transfer from passenger cars to public transport, such as busses and underground trains, will reduce both local air pollution and the greenhouse gas emissions. Efficient transport of goods requires environmental logistics such as well-developed infrastructure for transloading between different modes of transport, especially from road to rail transport.
In a broader context, Sweden has succeeded in severing the link between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1990 our emissions have been reduced with almost 9 percent. Over the same period, Sweden has had a high economic growth, 44 percent between 1990 and 2006.
The policies and measures introduced in Sweden to combat climate change have affected more than one sector. For example the energy sector, the agriculture sector and the industry. However, most of the measures are undertaken in the transport sector.
To stimulate the development of more efficient vehicles the government has introduced research and development programs, often together with several government agencies, universities, the vehicle industry and the component supplier industry. The forthcoming research programs, set to start in 2009, will focus, in particular, on hybrid drive train and other emerging green technologies.
Heavy-duty vehicles with low emissions are promoted by the government procurement policy on heavy-duty vehicles and mobile machines and by special environmental zones in cities where only vehicles that are up to emissions standards are allowed.
Energy-efficient passenger cars are encouraged by the annual vehicle circulation tax that is partly based on carbon dioxide emissions, by the government procurement policy on passenger cars, by the green car rebate to private persons who buy new clean cars and by different local government benefits, such at free parking etc. Environmental friendly cars is really booming in Sweden.
To further stimulate the use of biofuels in the transport sector the government also fund investment programs for producing and distributing first-generation biofuels and research programs on second-generation biofuels, e.g. biomass that is processed into synthetic diesel or ethanol produced from cellulose.
In addition, cars that can run on biofuels, such as flexible fuel vehicles and bi-fuel vehicles, are exempted from the congestion tax in Stockholm city. Company cars that can run on biofuels are also subject to reduced fringe benefit tax.
However, the net benefits derived from biofuels depend on how they are produced and used. The sustainability of biofuel crop production is an important focal point. We need to ensure that growth in biofuel production is not leading to deforestation or reducing the biological diversity or polluting the water supply etc.
Therefore, Sweden is working through the EU to set up sustainability criteria for biofuels and biomass production.
In logistics there is still a lot to be done, for example by developing more individual and customized solutions, by improving the cooperation between different transport modes and by increasing the competition between rail operators.
Finally, I would like to stress the importance of cooperation and exchange of experience in the areas of sustainable transport between government agencies, research institutes and companies in our two countries. It is important both from an environmental and an economic point of view.
I am therefore very pleased to hear about the partnership between Volvo trucks and Eicher Motors. Good luck to both of you and I would very much like to see more Swedish-Indian projects and partnerships being developed.
The Swedish CDM project in Tamil Nadu, hosted by the Swedish Energy Agency, which aims to produce biomass power from agricultural residuals, is a fine example of what we can achieve together. In addition to electricity power, this project will provide employment opportunities to the local communities and thus contribute to the alleviation of poverty.
Thank you for listening!