This is a discussion article. The opinions expressed are the writer’s own.
DEBATE. Almost half of the crude oil used for petrol and diesel for Swedish consumers is of unknown origin. Sweden will now hold the EU presidency – a good opportunity to change this, writes Gröna Mobilister.
The desire to avoid Russian oil and gas has renewed interest in making fossil energy traceable and introducing origin labeling. Last spring, the Business Committee called on the government to work towards this. The Liberals, the Moderates and the Sweden Democrats have promised to raise the issue in the EU. When Sweden becomes the EU’s presidency country on January 1, 2023, a golden opportunity opens up to fulfill the promise.
In the report Fuel 2021 writes the Energy Agency that the origin is unknown for 48 percent of the crude oil used to manufacture the fossil gasoline and diesel sold in Sweden in 2021. The reason is that there is no international system that makes it possible to trace fossil energy to its source.
The fuel companies that have the best track record of origin are those that refine petrol and diesel themselves. When Russia invaded Ukraine, Preem announced that they would cut off imports of Russian crude oil. St1 previously imported no crude oil from Russia.
Other fuel suppliers deal in finished products, and it was more difficult for them to identify and at short notice to remove the Russian oil. Now, however, almost everyone claims that they have succeeded in turning off the faucet from Russia, or that they will soon have turned it completely off.
Green Mobilists have no reason to doubt the companies’ information. But without tracking systems, control and verification becomes impossible. TV4 revealed how liquid Russian gas is smuggled into Sweden by transshipment in the Baltic Sea to ships flying a different flag. Deliveries are made to, among others, Nynas, which previously said it would stop purchasing Russian raw materials.
What warlords and dictators are we fattening without knowing it? Yesterday IS financed a beastly war with oil of obscure origin, today Russia is doing the same. What comes next if we don’t dispel the fossil fogs?
The possibility of opting out of the worst fossil alternatives not only gives us the chance to dampen geopolitical concerns, but can also spare people and the environment. One study carried out by researchers at KTH found clear connections between the geographical origin of fuels and their social sustainability.
Years 2019 and 2020 imported Preem and St1 crude oil from USA extracted through fracking. It is a problematic technology that can cause local environmental and health problems. Imports may have continued. Preem and St1 do not report the details of their US imports.
Much worse is oil extracted from tar sands and oil shale. Such oil is probably not available in Sweden, but it is impossible to know. The risk of it seeping in increases if the origin is not required to be declared. The same applies to oil from the sensitive Arctic.
In 2011, the EU Commission put forward a proposal which meant that the fuel companies would report the fossil raw materials and the place of origin of these raw materials at mass balance level. Fossil fuels of different origins can then be mixed, but systems must be in place that keep track of how much fossil fuels of different origins are brought in and out through each refining and distribution stage.
An investigation showed that if the cost if a system of traceability were imposed on the consumer, the price increase at the petrol pump would be less than a penny per litre. Nevertheless, the oil industry managed to nip the proposal in the bud.
The contrast with biofuels is great. They were made traceable at short notice in connection with that The EU’s Renewable Energy Directive was adopted in 2009. In an updated version, every fuel supplier in the EU is required to report the raw materials and geographical origin of their biofuels on the web as consumer information. The EU Parliament’s Environment Committee proposed this spring that all fuel pumps must be labeled with the same information, roughly in the manner of already done in Sweden.
Even though we have to get rid of fossil energy to save the climate, we favor fossil fuels by placing much lower demands on them than on renewable fuels. This must end.
The business committee called for spring 2022 the government to the government to act in the EU for traceability and origin labeling of fossil energy.
IN Gröna Mobilisters election survey stated the Center Party, the Liberals, the Green Party, the Moderates, the Sweden Democrats and the Left Party that they will act against the EU in this matter. The Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats did not reject the idea either. The political support in Sweden is thus broad, especially in the government base.
In a call after the outbreak of war claimed 26 European environmental organizationsone of which is from Ukraine, that the origin of the oil must be declared at the pump.
On January 1, 2023, Sweden will become the EU’s presidency country. Then the government must shine a revealing spotlight on fossil energy. A better opportunity will never come.
Jesper Johanssonchairman Green Mobilists
Per Östbornproject manager Green Mobilists