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So little is Sweden's largest emissions payer


Sweden's largest emitter SSAB pays almost no environmental taxes, SVT's review shows. This is despite the fact that there has long been a principle that it should "cost to dirty" in Swedish politics.

Raised gasoline and electricity taxes have caused households to throw out oil boilers and look at fuel-efficient cars. At the same time, the large companies - through a large number of exceptions and discounts - pay almost nothing in taxes for their emissions.

-I think it is important that it should cost to emit carbon dioxide. I am quite sure that it will and will cost more in the future, said SSAB CEO Martin Lindqvist in Agenda a few weeks ago.

The steel giant aims to be fossil-free by 2045. The government has entered with half a billion in support of the Hybrit project. If the investment in carbon-free steel is successful, it can revolutionize the entire steel industry.

But what does the company pay for the manufacturing that takes place today?

Zero in tax for coal

SSAB burns about 1.8 million tonnes of coal in its blast furnaces in Sweden, according to documents that SVT took part in. According to our estimates, the energy tax on coal would be more than SEK 1 billion. But the steel industry has exceptions and pays - nothing.

SSAB is also a major electricity consumer. For the office lighting, the company pays a few million a year in electricity tax. But without the exceptions and discounts in steel production, it would have been about SEK 400 million, according to SVT's calculations.

Even in the most climate-impacting area, fossil fuels such as gas and oil, the steel industry has good conditions. Only in Sweden are quantities used that would heat up around 60,000 villas. With full energy tax, it had cost SSAB hundreds of millions of kronor. But instead, you get a discount of 70 percent. And in some processes, oil and gas are also completely tax-free.

Sulfur emissions are also tax-exempt.

Excess allowances

The principle that it should cost to dirty is the reason why Sweden was one of the first countries to introduce carbon tax. In Sweden, SSAB emits 4.9 million tonnes of greenhouse gases - an amount that has resulted in a carbon dioxide tax of approximately SEK 5.6 billion.

But since SSAB is part of the EU emissions trading, and is comparatively low in carbon dioxide, the company has so far gone on a plus. Last year, it ended with a surplus of 11,000 allowances worth SEK 3.75 million. But in 2019, it may be relevant to buy some emission rights, according to the company.

The final note for SSAB will eventually be around 10 or possibly 20 SEK per tonne of emissions. It can be compared to a homeowner with an oil boiler having to pay SEK 1,600 per tonne of emissions in tax.

"Government's decision"

Thomas Hörnfeldt, Sustainability Manager at SSAB, points out that the tax relief is based on a political desire to safeguard a competitive industry.

"We must remember that this is a decision that the Riksdag and the government have made, we follow exactly the laws that exist," he says.

Source: svt

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