Eco-Living Magazine

Obama and Sweden

Posted on the 13 September 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

After I wrote an article about Sweden and their energy production last week, I saw an article about President Obama visiting with Sweden’s Prime Minister that same week.  Apparently, Obama agrees with my thoughts that we can learn a lot from Sweden about sustainable energy development.

There are some issues with this though too.  One, Sweden gets half of its energy from hydropower.  The U.S. does use hydropower as a minor source of energy (about 6 %) but there is no way we are going to increase that from what it is currently.  In fact, the Southwest is having issues keeping up with water and energy demands because of droughts and increased population.  The U.S. has also shied away from producing new dams with so many ecological effects that are now taken into account.

Two, Sweden’s next top contender of energy is nuclear power.  We do use nuclear power as a source of energy in the U.S., at around 19 %, but the growth of nuclear power is very small. Nuclear power is a very controversial topic in the U.S.  People don’t really like the idea of a nuclear plant being around them, which is understandable with the risks that can be associated with these plants.  Building nuclear plants is also very expensive which makes it challenging to find funding.  Nuclear plants also have to be very specific about their locations (no fault lines, need access to water, etc.) in order to be approved to build.  With this in mind I don’t really see hydropower or nuclear expanding much in our future.

Sweden started their transition to renewables long ago (in the 1970s) and began taxing carbon in 1991.  This was necessary since oil is expensive to import and they don’t have a natural supply like the U.S.  This forced them to rework their system and focus on what they could produce within their country.  This, coupled with reduced energy consumption, made for a more sustainable energy plan.  Sweden still plans to cut their carbon emission in the future which is impressive with all they have done so far.

The real issue is that we just consume too much energy and have too many fossil fuel reservoirs to make us change.  Change is a funny thing; it is hard but not necessarily difficult.  The key issue in change is making sure you want it, otherwise it won’t happen or stick.  I think Obama should go back to his original campaign slogan of “Change: We Can Believe In” and figure out how to change our consumption habits of energy.  Right now I don’t really believe in much of what Obama says about environmental policies, because he isn’t doing much but talk.

Image Source

RSS Feed

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog