The Swedish approach to air pollution management has basically been a combination of direct regulation and economic incentives. Economic incentives have been used more extensively in Sweden than in most other industrialized nations, accompanied by some limited use of voluntary agreements. The government has in particular encouraged the use of best available technology for pollution prevention. Global environmental protection, especially for air quality management, also has been a high priority for the Swedish government. Since accepting European Union membership in 1995, Sweden has worked to incorporate EC environmental directives into national law. However, because many existing Swedish environmental laws involve higher standards than EC directives, the nation has been allowed to slow the rate of transposition and maintain its own standards until 1999.
As in other nations, it is problems in the transport sector that continue to present significant air quality management issues to Swedish policy-makers. CO2 and NOx emissions, largely from the transport sector, have been on the rise. Increased traffic and vehicle volume is expected thought the early 2000s, following on current trends, and this is expected to more than offset the emissions reductions of the previous two decades. Government policy in Sweden has focused on building roads, rather than extending and improving public transport systems and increasing incentives to use these transport systems by making it more costly to use private cars.
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