Sweden: row over refinery expansion

Sweden's highest environmental court on Monday gave the green light for Preem, the country's largest oil company, to expand its refinery in Lysekil in western Sweden. The Social Democrat-led government is expected to approve the project despite the concerns of its junior partner, the Green Party. Sweden's press is unhappy.

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

Climate policy must not be divisive

For Aftonbaldet, the controversy shows how at odds the nation is regarding climate policy:

“The divided Lysekil also shows that climate policy must be socially compatible. You can't ignore those who see this as a question of jobs, and you can't ignore those who see us plunging into the abyss. Allowing Preem to expand the Lysekil refinery doesn't make sense. Our dependence on crude oil is not only bad for the climate, it also makes us vulnerable to crises. The climate issue does not necessarily have to be full of conflict. Basically the question is very simple: do we want to survive? If the answer is yes, the government should say no to the expansion and develop a climate policy that is more class-conscious.”

Upsala Nya Tidning (SE) /

Irony of history

For Upsala Nya Tidning the move is a blow to Sweden's climate policy:

“The reason why the government should reject Preem's application is simple: carbon dioxide emissions are supposed to decrease and with one million tons per year the new plant means increased emissions. The reason for the court's decision is just as simple: the company is subject to EU emissions trading and so the rules in national environmental law cannot apply. It is deeply ironic that Sweden, which has been pushing ahead with emissions trading reform in the EU, is now helping to undermine this system.”