||Sweden prepares for oil-free future
SWEDEN is to take the biggest energy step of any advanced Western economy by trying to wean itself off oil within 15 years — without building new nuclear power stations.
The attempt by the country of 9 million to become the world's first practically oil-free economy is being planned by a committee of industrialists, farmers, car makers and others.
The Swedish Government said on Tuesday that it intended to replace all fossil fuels with biofuels (such as ethanol) and renewables (such as wind and wave power) before climate change destroys economies and oil scarcity leads to bigger price rises.
"Our dependency on oil should be broken by 2020," said Sustainable Development Minister Mona Sahlin. "(This) would give us enormous advantages, not least by reducing the impact from fluctuations in oil prices."
A Government official said: "We want to be both mentally and technically prepared for a world without oil."
Sweden, which was badly hit by the oil price rises in the 1970s, now gets almost all its electricity from nuclear and hydro-electric power, and relies on fossil fuels mainly for transport. A 1980 referendum decided that nuclear power should be phased out, but this has still not been finalised.
The decision to abandon oil puts the country at the top of the world green league table.
Last week, President George Bush surprised analysts by saying that America was addicted to oil. The US plans to increase nuclear power.