No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

WE QUESTION YOU

2010-05-04

Good morning Mr. Andreas Carlgren, Minister for the Environment, Government of Sweden and Mrs. Maud Olofsson, Minister for Enterprise and Energy of the very same. You just ran out of places to hide.

How does one make a sustainable change? With politics, right? We agree. It takes real, long-term commitment and a strong leadership to affect an entire nation to move in a more sustainable direction. However, as we look at your environmental proposition from 2006 that is still very much relevant today, we find ourselves curious on one particular issue: green cars (miljöbilar).

The problem with green cars is neither in the technology nor in the production. It’s in your politics and in your communication. The basic proposition – “tax reductions for everyone who drives a car with less impact on the environment” sure sounds good. However, a majority of these so-called green cars that benefit from the proposition are far from green.

For example: A lot of green cars can be driven on fossil fuels as well as ethanol or bio fuel. In effect, you get tax reductions for having a car that could be “green”, but whether or not it’s driven that way is up to you. Also, if you look at it from a carbon dioxide output perspective, ethanol might be less bad than gasoline. But calling it “green” hardly seems correct since ethanol destroys the grounds from where it is harvested, and has a highly energy-demanding production chain. And even though ethanol is about 25 % cheaper than regular gasoline, it’s also a lot less efficient which means a larger amount of long, fossil-fueled transports to reach gas stations worldwide.

You could sum things up quite easily: A car is never green. No matter how fuel-efficient it may be it is still bad for the environment. In fact, the label itself is directly misleading for the consumers. It’s greenwashing in its purest form and the fact that the government embraces this by using the label is hardly a good thing.

We are in no way against environmentally friendlier fuels. We do however question the concept of “green cars”, and the way it has been embraced by you as a sustainable option. We’re sure you know this by now, but the way you act is the way you communicate. And if you claim you’re sustainable, you better deliver on that claim.

At Berghs School of Communication we have realized that our future depends on honesty. We’re tired of being asked to lie. Tired of putting politically correct glitter on politically incorrect shit.

So we have an idea. Why don’t you come to our school and see for yourself how communication can make a difference when you have something real to say. Come and see how having a sustainable plan means having a sustainable way of making money. Come here and leave with a new inspiring perspective.

We will wait for your response, so please send it to respond@studentbyran.se. In the meantime, we will make this letter public on sustainableplan.se.

This is only the beginning. Are you in or out?

Best regards

Studentbyrån

Your answer

2010-05-21

GOVERNMENT OFFICES

Ministry of the Environment

Minister for the Environment

M2010/2367/A/Br

Hello Studentbyrån,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding “green cars”. My compliments for your initiative on sustainable communication.

The industrialised countries have so far had a high-carbon and, not a sustainable, development. We invested in fossil and high carbon technologies. Now we face huge costs transforming transportation, energy and buildings for the low carbon society. We need to change the resource base of our economy. From fossil to renewable energy. Step by step: renewable, recyclable, sustainable resources. It’s my firm belief that this is possible.

“Green cars” is not a short cut. Neither is it the last step in this process. “Green cars” is a small  - but necessary – step on the road to a sustainable society. Colour is about perception. If everything would be green there would be no need for the term. The definition of a “green car” will gradually be made more stringent as the research and development of cars and fuels progress. You could say that “green” means “as green as possible”.

At last, the future: Next generation of green cars. I would like to see a major initiative for research and development of electric cars. We need to develop cooperation between universities and institutes of technology, Swedish car manufacturers and development companies in the industry, to produce commercially viable electric cars and hybrid electric vehicles. The Government has taken an initiative together with car manufacturers and energy companies. At the same time, we are developing cooperation with countries such as the USA and Brazil on vehicle research and fuels.

Yours sincerely,

Andreas Carlgren