Svemin: "Short-term deadline does not change the system error with ineffective permit examinations"

  • 2021-08-10
  • 12:56
  • News

The Government’s proposal for a temporary change in environmental legislation means that Cementa – within the framework of current environmental permits – can continue its production until next summer. A welcome respite, but the measure unfortunately only pushes the problem forward.
Cementa’s plant in Slite would become the world’s climate – neutral cement factory.
-The climate irony is depressing, says Maria Sunér, CEO of Svemin.

The cement crisis exposes the infected intersection between ideological climate ambition and the real work carried out by large Swedish industrial companies. Ambitious investment plans in the industry can make Sweden a world leader in climate-neutral raw materials – both metals and cement.
A continued long-term mining permit is, however, a prerequisite for Cementa and HeidelbergCement to be able to establish the world’s first climate-neutral cement factory in Slite 2030 and for Sweden to achieve the climate goals and become the world’s first carbon dioxide-free welfare state.
-The great uncertainty unfortunately remains after the government’s announcement today (Aug. 10), it is devastating for companies with long planning horizons. In practice, the situation jeopardizes Cementa’s extensive investments in climate neutrality, says Maria Sunér.

Unfortunately, the tours around the lime quarry on Gotland are just the latest example of how poor permit processes work in Sweden. Svemin has for many years pointed out the shortcomings of today’s system. A renewed application for Cementa risks taking at least 3-4 years. Uncertainty about the future supply of cement in Sweden exists for companies in the mining and construction sector, all of which are dependent on the material for their operations.
-It should be a matter of course also from a contingency perspective that Sweden can produce cement within the country, something we have all the prerequisites for – except permits. Our society must function in the event of social disturbances, crises or wars.

A fundamental error in the environmental permit processes is the lack of a holistic view. For example, there is no state actor or authority whose task is to ensure the totality of sustainable development, which includes all three dimensions – environmental, economic and social aspects.
-Politics has an enormous responsibility here. Without the political courage to see the big picture of how the climate transition is linked to, among other things, access to climate-neutral metals and minerals, we are pushing the problems ahead of ourselves or to another country without the same sustainability intentions, says Maria Sunér. The IPCC’s new climate report was crystal clear that we must all increase the pace of change. This situation is insane, an end in itself in Sweden’s climate work.