Schultz Environment Blog

Environment in a broad sense,transports and energy issues. From my local point of view with a global touch!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Night wanderer
In Sweden many cities engage parents to be night wanderer. The aim is to calm down young people and have them to avoid drugs and alcohol and stop fighting etc. There are other arenas for night wanderer. One arena could be the offices and work places. It can pay off both economically and for the environment to investigate what’s on at the office when nobody works. Is the photocopier, the coffee machine, the pc, the light, the ventilation etc switched off? Making this a staff activity makes everybody involved in the energy saving.
Last winter our energy advisors made a night walk in our office and looked at the situation. They presented the result in a power point presentation at a staff meeting. One could see in whose office the light was on or the pc, etc. This created more awareness among the staff about energy saving and we had a fruitful discussion about the issue. So, why not take an initiative and start a night walk at your office?

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The name is Amanda!
Biogas has now advanced from being an environment friendly alternative to becoming the foremost fuel in which the environment, supply assurance and economy coexist in harmony. In Linköping, Sweden they have introduced the first train in the world that use biogas as fuel. It is a not too expensive project, 7 million SEK, which has drawn the interest from BBC, Yomiuri Shimbun etc to Linköping. The train operates the route Linköping – Västervik that is a distance of 116 km. The 12-biogas tank contains fuel for 600 km travel distance.

Biogas could be an interesting alternative when all the old railcars will be discarded. In the biogas train, Amanda, the diesel engines have been changed to biogas engines of the same type that works in the city buses in Linköping. The outlets of carbon dioxide have been decreased by 60 times and particles by 15 and hydrocarbons and nitrogen dioxide has decreased to a third of the value earlier. Good luck Amanda and hope you will get many successors.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

“Stop the unnecessarily”
That’s the name of a new brochure we distribute in the Karlstad municipality these days. The aim is to stop the unnecessarily waste of energy at the work places. The different departments in Karlstad can get education by our energy advisors in how to manage that. We do this campaign together with the University of Karlstad. Together we are 7 700 employees which can affect the energy consumption quite a lot by our behaviour with the computers, photocopier, lighting etc.
The brochure kills some myths about energy and gives some really good examples about how you can save energy at the work place.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Swan ecolabel
Fujitsu Siemens Computers LIFEBOOK C1410 is the fist laptop in the world achieving the Swan Ecolabel. The criteria for a ecolabel from the Swan for pc focus on power consumption, plastics and their additives, heavy metals, recycling of discarded products, noise levels etc. You can read more about the criteria on: and more about the laptop at .

In 1989, the Nordic Council of Ministers decided to introduce a common, official environmental label in Nordic. The Swan was chosen as a symbol, a variation on the logo of the Nordic Council of Ministers. I thought actually there already were some laptops which had achieved the Swan label. If you are interested in eco labelling of products check out the website above.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Alternative in cars…..
Last Friday I looked at some new electric cars suitable for different sort of public works. There has been some development in this segment of cars, since I last tried them and I think we will see more of them. The man who sold them complained that people were too suspicious about their range of distance etc. Perhaps it’s their silent move that is their big advantage, when used in churchyards, city centres etc. They haven’t been a success as ordinary cars for transport of people yet.
When we looked for an environment friendly mode of car to my job we chose a Toyota Prius as we have to transport us both in the city centre and at the countryside. We will for sure see alternatives of new hybrids, electric cars etc, in the future, although the oil price decreased to fall under 60 $ a barrel for the first time in a long while today.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Nice thinking about recycling, HP
I changed my ink cartridge in my HP printer the other day and in the package there was a return bag, free of charge, for the return back of the old cartridge. I only wondered, why has it taken so long time to introduce that service? But, now it’s in function and that’s fine, a good example for others. Take a view on their commitments in recycling.

Friday, September 22, 2006

In town without my car
Today was the “In town without my car” campaign with almost 1300 cities participating in different way. In Karlstad, Sweden we let famous inhabitants challenging the public, in advertisements, to set their car away for one journey today. More than 400 people took up the challenge. If that would be the everyday situation it would release around 10 000 square meters of parking space and spare outlets of approximately 2 tons of carbon dioxide.

In fact, I was in town all day without my car, but I'm rather well-off having bicycling distance to my job.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Ten Years of Energy Labelling of Domestic Appliances
The energy labelling of domestic appliances is compulsory and common to all EU states. The objective is to help the consumers choose more energy-saving domestic appliances and to spur on product development in the direction towards manufacturing and selling more energy-saving models.
The Swedish Consumer Agency has been the supervisory authority and has had responsibility for the work that is described here. Since 1 January 2005 the Swedish Energy Agency is the supervisory authority in Sweden and will be checking that regulations are conformed to.
The report contains ten years’ of collated experience from the work with compulsory energy labelling 1995–2005. I read it yesterday and saw satisfactory that the stores in Karlstad used the labelling quite well. The study shows that it pays of to enforce the use of energy labelling. The consumers get a better chance to make a choice that is good for the environment and the private economy in the long run. You can read the report on the link below.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Synergy by coordinated inspections
The project has been carried out in cooperation between the environmental agencies of the local authorities and the Swedish chemical inspectorate, KemI. The local authorities inspect superstores and that will be followed up by KemI, inspecting the suppliers. So far, around 19 000 products has been inspected in over 440 different stores. There were lots of products not properly labelled.
This shows indeed that both GHS and Reach, that I described yesterday, are needed. Reed more about the project at

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

REACH… me a tool to get some order in the jungle of chemicals
Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, that’s the new EG-regulation which will be implemented in the member states and probably come into force during 2007. It is a complex regulation which aims to perform the same conditions for new and already “existing” chemicals. There are more than 30 000 “existing” chemicals on the European market and of them only around 1 500 has been tested or evaluated against health and environment effects. In the link you can read more about why, how and what about REACH.
Together with the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of Chemicals, GHS, which I wrote about some days ago, there will hopefully be a somewhat better order in the jungle of chemicals.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The day after…..
Today is the day after the election. The alliance of moderates, liberals, christian democrats and the centre parties, won the election at the national level. Yesterday, it was also a referendum in the city of Stockholm and its fourteen suburban about the congestion charging experiment in Stockholm. The result of the referendum was that the people in the city of Stockholm voted for the charges and the people in all the suburban against, not to surprisingly. One of the first challenges for the new government in the field of traffic and environment will be to decide if there is to be an extension of the congestion charging experiment. It will be interesting to see what they will decide.

The Victorian Transport Policy Institute has an encyclopaedia at the web for free. They have gathered a lot of interesting information about transportation demand management or mobility management. Perhaps the encyclopaedia could be something for the government to look into, if they want to find more innovative management solutions to transportation problems. They can also read about both London an Stockholm measures in congestin charges.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

European Mobility Week and the election in Sweden.
Yesterday I visited the town square where the European Mobility Week started in Karlstad. It was a bit chilly in the morning, but after 11 o’clock people started to come and visit the exhibition. My staff has done a nice job with the arrangement I think. People who visited seemed to appreciate the possibility to get some more information about the environment and to participate in different activities. Many people also visited the different party’s cabins for information about the election which too part today. The polling stations closed at 8.00 am and now there are analysing programmes at TV. Earlier, there has been some analysis of what the different political party’s will mean for the environment in Sweden. So far, there seem to be quite close between the two coalitions in the election on the national level. It will be interesting to se what the result will be.

Otherwise we have had some family activities this weekend, so we just about managed to get to the polling station before thay closed at 8.00 am. I have an early morning tomorrow, so I’m not sure a will stay awake all night to get the election result.
If there is a result ready this night, there is to say.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tomorrow the European Mobility week starts. During 16-22 September more than 800 cities participate during the week and over 1050 cities participate in the day “In town, without my car”. This means that over 166 million people can be reached by the message about climate changes.
In Karlstad we started this morning handing out information and a small bag with refreshments for our bicycling, to school or job, everyday Heroes. Karlstad has participated in the campaign since 2000. Does your city participate in the campaign?

Tomorrow, at Saturday there will be a full programme during the hours10-15 in the city centre. Local politicians will meet the inhabitants and discuss traffic and environment questions, only a day before Election Day. Some of the ice hockey heroes will challenge people in hockey game, there will be information about; energy issues, climate change, physical exercise, air quality in the city centre, nature areas in the city etc. On Tuesday we will arrange the Bicycle Day, Wednesday it is eco-labelling information, Thursday a fiery cross with environment theme, is arranged by pupils in the primary schools along our river in the county and finally on Friday well known people in the city challenge the public to leave the car at home that day. Until today it’s about 200 people taken up the challenge.

Next week a big shopping centre is inaugurated in the middle of the city centre. Our mobility officers will hand out pamphlets with information how the employees in the shopping centre and their customers can visit the centre using the most suitable environmentally transport with the best accessibility.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Harmonisation of labelling of chemicals
What a nice Indian summer we have these days in Sweden, 22 degrees today in Karlstad. We took a walk with our dog in a nearby nature area in the evening. You can perceive a certain sort of mood when the sun sets and it’s still warm. When we walked along the path I reflected over the beauty of nature and one of the threats against it. My thoughts went to chemicals, perhaps because of our dogs olfactory sense reacted so long before ours on different sort of scents or odours.

Some weeks ago I saw that there was a consultation from the EU commission about chemicals. I looked it up and found it in the link below. If you want to you can as a EU citizen give your opinion on the Globally Harmonised System of classification and labelling of Chemicals, GHS.
The internet consultation on the GHS draft Regulation will last from 21/08/06 till 21/10/06. There are useful links and background documents for you depending on how much you want to elaborate before you answer the questionnaire. The GHS provides a harmonised basis for globally uniform environmental, health and safety information on hazardous chemical substances and mixtures. Read more about it in the link.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Don’t throw bottles or cans in Nature
Have you heard about the two atoms – one of them said “I think I have lost an electron”. The other replied “are you sure about that”. The first again “Yes, I’m positive”. That’s a chemist’s joke.

I was also quite positive when we went off to get money on return bottles and cans this evening. My daughter and some friends of her are rising money for a girl centre in Nairobi as a service at the IB programme. As one activity they collected return cans and bottles in our neighbourhood. All the cans and bottles ended up in our yard and she needed some help. We spent about an hour at the machine that takes care about the cans and bottles. Altogether it ended up to about 40-50 euro, not that bad. But, many of our neighbours seem to by cans and bottles from other countries, Denmark, Germany etc and those are non-returnable here. It’s a pity I think, that neighbouring countries can’t have the same system for these things. Of course, we went to the nearest recycling station with the two sacks of non-returnable bottles and cans. Unfortunately, I know that many other throw them in nature or a little bit better in the garbage can.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The company of a beaver….
This morning I had the pleasure of the company of a beaver for a while. The beaver was swimming in the river klarälven and I was on my way to the office on cycle. We had eye contact for a second and at once I felt a sort of contact with the wilderness in the middle of the city.
The beaver was extinct in Sweden in the 1800 century and protected in 1873 and reintroduced from Norway in the 1920’s. The reintroduction was prosperous and now days the beaver isn’t an endangered species in Sweden. It is not protected ince 1873 after 100 years of protection.The reason for the extinction was the hunting for the skin and castor. Most species endangered today is that because of change of their biotope, except for the wolf, of course. In my county there is a big debate about how many wolfs that can be allowed before the hunt can start again. There is also a discussion about if the wolfs were reintroduced by man or has spread from other countries. The last wolf in Sweden was thought to be shot in 1964 and after that the species were protected.
We humans are quite occupied about what is genuine and what is only a pale or faked copy in nature. I can recommend an interesting book “Faking Nature” The ethics of environmental restoration by Robert Elliot in the subject. Can wild species live together with humans in an urban environment? But of course they can, take the wasp for example. Although the beaver is an introduced species in Sweden, I felt like it was genuine this morning.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sustainable development - a question of balance?
Talking of sustainable development you usually refer to three aspects; the environmental, the economic and the social aspect. There are as many definitions of sustainable development as there are lecturers in the subject. One definition, I have heard some times are; “creating a good life for the citizen living in the city.”

I think the core issue is to have the opportunity to self-fulfilment without intruding on other people’s interests. The whole thing is a question of balance; between nations, cities, individuals etc. One way to reach the balance or equilibrium is to have a fruitful dialogue with the surroundings. When something is to be developed by your hand you have to have a dialogue with your neighbours so they can affect your plans not disturbing them to much etc. Going in the direction of sustainable development takes time and often you will get annoyed on obstacles laid in front of you by other people. And perhaps, sometimes you can’t self-realize to the extent you would like to.

Our urge for self-realization is perhaps the largest obstacle to sustainable development, both in individual and national perspective? Or, what do you think? Would we have sustainable development with a more altruistic approach? Or wouldn’t there be any development at all then?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A lot of figures – what do they stand for?
Today, we have an outlet from transports of 6, 5 tons per capita in Sweden. What should the target be? I heard the figure, 2 tons on Friday on a conference in Gothenburg. Most of today environment politic has a tendency to deal with a lot of figures. It is not easy to imagine what all figures stand for. It is a lot of assumptions behind the figures. Remember that we have newly recognised the climate changes and that we dosn't know the mechanisms behind very well yet. So, many of the goals we see are only guesses about what we must reach, with a lot of assumptions and calculations behind.

What we do know, is that we have to change our lifestyles, at least in the developed countries. That is a challenge as good as any. But of course we need goals to try achive. It’s only that there’s a tendency to set to many goals and then forget to try and reach them. I think we have to become better in follow-ups and use statistics with some carefulness.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The inconvenient truth
Today there were reportages in several Swedish newspapers about the premier of “The inconvenient truth” It could have been about the political campaign before the Swedish election, were members in the liberal party has been accused for hacking in the social democrats intranet. But of course, it’s about Al Gore’s meeting with the Swedish royalties marketing of his new film about the climate change. When he was here a year ago and talked in the same matter for leaders of big company’s media wasn’t interested. This time, he got better publicity.
Myself, I have been in Gothenburg on a conference for technicians in public works, planning and environment. I attended a session that dealt with sustainable development which discussed the questions of traffic planning, planning of new city centres, how to plan for sustainable consuming etc. It was quite an interesting day altogether.
But, how many definitions of sustainable development there are. Unfortunately, the ecological aspect isn’t taken seriously enough, when city centres and likewise are planned. It’s a question of political will, courage and dedication at the end. To get that it needs motivation. I guess that is Al Gore’s idea with this film “The inconvenient truth”. Perhaps it’s a little business also, but that’s OK as long as a good business idea and sustainable development goes hand in hand with each other.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Information project
Today we got a visit of a delegation from our twinning city in South Africa, Emthanjeni to Karlstad. We will discuss and begin to evaluate our cooperation in an Hiv/Aids information project, I have written about earlier. I heard on the news that 129 women, infected with Hiv/Aids had sought asylum in Canada today as a protest to the South African politic in the Hiv/Aids issue. Hiv/Aids are a delicate issue in South Africa. In Emthanjeni the mayor is dedicated in the subject to get young people more enlighten in the issue. Let us hope he will be more successful in his mission than the health minister, “Mrs Beetroot” as she is called by South African media. She got her nickname when she ordinate the public to use the right food (for example beetroot) as a protection against Hiv infection awaiting for the right medicine.
The right information about good lifestyle can be a better precaution.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Those fantastic flying machines
All the big companies; Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa SAS, etc now fly much more over Swedish territory on the long flights to China and Asia. This increases the amount of airplanes over Sweden enormously and also the Swedish Airport and Air Navigation Service, finances as well. It also increases the amount of outlets of for example particles and nitrogen’s. I read about it sitting on the train on my way to Stockholm for a conference for heads of environment agencies.
In a way it is fantastic with airplanes. It’s surprising that they can get up in the air and take you to all foreign distances. But, it’s a pity that they have to let out so big amount of air pollution and use fossil fuel. It ought to be quite a potential to develop the planes in a more environmental friendly way. Why hasn't it been done then? I think there hasn’t been enough pressure from the society in form of legislation. The regulation for air traffic has been more of safety legislation and the fact that planes move over so many countries territory makes it difficult to harmonize the legislation.
I saw there was a study done the days after the 11:th of September when there wasn’t any planes in the air, and it was an astonishing difference in the air pollution situation. The air was so bright and clear compared with an ordinary day with planes in the air. There is a theory that the particles in the air, descending from airplane outlets, slow down the effects of climate changes. I’m not sure what to think about that, are you? Basically I think we must try to decrease the man-made outlets.

The picture is the chapel at the Air Force Academy , Colorado.