A study in hypocrisy

The hard-line Swedish green party Miljöpartiet (MP) has long been a driving force for evermore stringent environmental laws and spot taxes on electricity, fossil fuels, fertilizer and so on. This has hurt farmers, trucking companies, manufacturers, commuters, fishers, and practically anyone not living like the una-bomber in some forest hut.

One would at least expect the party leaders to practice what they preach, especially now that they have become part of the government coalition. In fact, it is Åsa Romson, the vice prime minister and current environment minister, that has been shown to blatantly ignore the strict regulations she and her party has been so keen on enforcing.

Åsa Romson lives on a large houseboat in the water right in the Stockholm low-emission zone. It is diesel-powered using old-school diesel engines, spewing out exactly those particles MP are foaming at the mouth over when trucks produce them. The boat has no septic tank, meaning everything from dishwashing to toilet-use goes straight into the water. But the real kicker is that she recently used toxic paint that has been banned since 2001 because of the severe damage to the eco-system.

The paint, reportedly Sigma Antifouling, is copper-based which has a clear link to the dying sealife in the baltic sea. MP were the ones pushing hardest for the ban of this type of paints. The environment minister shrugs off the criticism. “My conscience is clear,” she said in an interview with newspaper Expressen. “I can live with this.” Instead, when confronted with pictures of her applying the banned paint last year, she snapped back at the reporter questioning the copyright to the pictures themselves.

Less than a week into her tenure, the environment minister has now been formally charged for breaking her own environment protection laws. It’s all about getting a running start, for sure.

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