24 February 2013

EU sues Sweden over environmental 'inaction'

A couple of days ago, I read that the EU will take Sweden to court for repeatedly ignoring an order to regulate its industrial sites. The warning was given to Sweden in 2007.

Now, this is a total surprise for me.

In Sweden, everybody is so environmentally cautious! The people, the government, the schools, every institution... Even at fast food places, like MaxBurgers, you select your hamburger based on two pieces of information: (1) nutrition--KJoules (or calories) and fat content, (2) how much CO2 was used for its production. We recycle in 10 different categories in my neighborhood. We never throw a single piece of garbage in the wrong bin. Buses are coloured green because they proudly run on environmental-friendly fuel. People use bikes rather than cars, one reason being they care about the environment. We are told that, if we have the option, to heat up the car electrically when parked outside in the snow because starting on a cold engine is bad for the environment. We pay more for many things because we care about the environment. The environment comes first. Everything else comes second.

So, I was taken aback when I read that EU is suing Sweden over environmental issues. It's like suing the Pope for not being a good Christian. But The Local is not an untrustworthy source of news, so I accept that this is the case. In fact, the rest of the article also mentions that EU is taking Greece (and the UK) to court for environmental issues. No surprise here! This is totally in par with my experience.

The conclusion is that, despite appearances, despite the promise of "environmental paradise" in Sweden (as advocated by everyone, the government, the industry, etc.), one should be cautious about taking the "obvious" as true. Apparently, there are forces in Sweden which do not care about the environment and which, for some reason, have not been noticed or punished by the government.

I will not stop recycling every little piece of paper, but I will, from now on, be aware of the fact that, perhaps, even if I recycle everything for the rest of my life, the good I'm doing to the environment may not be equal to the damage done to it, in a single day, by a misbehaving factory farting nasty gases into the atmosphere. And I will have to take big words like "the overall goal of the Government's environmental policy is to hand on to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems facing Sweden have been solved" with a grain of salt.


  1. Why does Sweden care about the nutritional value of a hamburger, which affects only the person eating the hamburger, and not the torture forced upon innocent animals to make said burger?

  2. Why do you think *I* should know? To help you answer your question, here is a link to Swedish government, with contact information. Feel free to ask them. And let me know too, when you get a reply.



What measure theory is about

It's about counting, but when things get too large.
Put otherwise, it's about addition of positive numbers, but when these numbers are far too many.

The principle of dynamic programming

max_{x,y} [f(x) + g(x,y)] = max_x [f(x) + max_y g(x,y)]

The bottom line

Nuestras horas son minutos cuando esperamos saber y siglos cuando sabemos lo que se puede aprender.
(Our hours are minutes when we wait to learn and centuries when we know what is to be learnt.) --António Machado

Αγεωμέτρητος μηδείς εισίτω.
(Those who do not know geometry may not enter.) --Plato

Sapere Aude! Habe Muth, dich deines eigenen Verstandes zu bedienen!
(Dare to know! Have courage to use your own reason!) --Kant