Socialist Left to ban sales under environmental policy.
Days of fossil-fuel numbered
It’s time for the internal combustion-engine to hang up its spurs. At least, this is the decision that was taken under the Socialist Left’s (SV) party conference in Bergen at the weekend. SV, one of the smaller parties in the coalition government, wants to phase out the sale of these environmental sinners by 2015 at the latest.
By using a combination of a reward-based system, laws, and taxes, the party wishes to see motorists make the transition from driving cars that only use fossil-fuels, to more environmentally-friendly solutions. They envisage that it will be Norway who takes the initiative for cooperation with several other countries to ban their sale. All future new cars will either have to be able to use alternative fuel-forms, or at least be hybrid.
Public authorities to lead the way
It’s here that we will probably notice the change first. SV’s aim is that by 2010, all new cars used by the authorities will either run on renewable energy, or be emission-free. Both companies that are state-run and the councils will receive financial support to buy electric or plug-in hybrid cars. Charging-stations will be established in car-parks and at petrol-stations.
Pie in the sky?
Kristin Halvorsen, both the Finance Minister and leader of the party, thinks their plans are realistic.
“By 2015, it’s probable that technology will have advanced sufficiently so that we can demand zero-emission vehicles”, Halvorsen told aftenposten.no.
In the latest National Transport Plan, the railways were given high priority. SV wishes to go further because they are committed to cutting emissions by 40 percent by 2020.
For this to happen, there needs to be a viable alternative to goods-transport by road. The present railways have to be made more effective, so that they can be made in to a national high-speed rail network. New lines that can handle trains with speeds up to 250 kilometres per hour also have to be built; something that they would like to see started by 2015.
Cutting down travel-time between the largest cities in Norway and the rest of Scandinavia will offer a real alternative to flying, thus reducing harmful emissions further. SV proposes to fund these projects by spending more of the oil fund, and transferring higher sums from road-toll collection to the railways than at present, where new roads are being built on the same stretches.
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