Learning From Sweden: Green Cars Don't Reduce Emissions

Despite having the world's most energy efficient, least polluting auto fleet, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector continue to rise in Sweden.
June 14, 2011, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Professor Firmin DeBrabander, chair of Maryland Institute of Art's Humanistic Studies, doesn't oppose energy efficiency or green technology, but wants to "reform our absurd consumption habits."

"Through generous subsidies, Sweden aggressively pushed its citizens to trade in their cars for energy efficient replacements. Sweden has been so successful in this initiative that it leads the world in per capita sales of ‘green cars.' To everyone's surprise, however, greenhouse gas emissions from Sweden's transportation sector are up.

Or perhaps we should not be so surprised after all. What do you expect when you put people in cars they feel good about driving (or at least less guilty), which are also cheap to buy and run? Naturally, they drive them more. So much more, in fact, that they obliterate energy gains made by increased fuel efficiency.

Who can doubt that they'll likely inspire Americans to make longer commutes to work, live even further out in the exurbs, bringing development, blacktop and increased emissions with them?"

Note: Aricle originally appeared in Baltimore Sun

Thanks to Patricia Matachek

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Published on Friday, June 10, 2011 in Common Dreams
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