EU’s Climate Package: “Good for Finland & Rest of World”

The European Minister (SDP), the Economics Minister (Center Party)  and the Environmental Minister (Greens) had a press conference immediately after the European Commission announced the bare bones of the “Fit for 55%” climate change package. 

Up until now the media had been reporting that Finnish government was badly divided on what they expected from this package. The Greens were calling for more diversity in forest management and stronger policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions, while the Center Party and the SDP wanted to stop the EU from interfering in our forestry policy and from making shipping less competitive for Finland. 

However the news conference here in Helsinki did not produce any hot words but pointed to a determination to find good compromises. These three politicians all see that Cleantech innovations will produce many excellent jobs in the future, and without change there is no future for mankind, like we have enjoyed this last ten decades with disastrous consequences for our children.

Finland is very dependent on our forests and two of the above parties do not want the EU to tell Finland how to manage our forests when they said that Finland is already a world champion in sustainable forest management, a claim that can certainly be challenged and has been challenged by eminent experts here. On the other hand, we have invested huge amounts in managing our forests which are well maintained but relatively lacking in bio-diversity. The big forest companies has preferred to cut younger trees for pulp and cardboard rather than developing aggressively wood for building and furniture. Forests here have been cut over 60 year periods with roots and waste branches used for power, and replanted with a limited selection of trees meaning that bio-diversity and eco-systems are considerably weakened. Forests bring water to the ground which was confirmed in recent studies which state that forest diversity improves moisture containment.

Finland is also very dependent on shipping and being an “island” on the Northeast corner of Europe with a long geographic land mass we use relatively high volumes of fuel to reach EU markets. Rural residents and commerce and industry located far from these markets and shipping ports must bear these higher costs relative to those located in high built-up urban centres. The Finnish political parties are worried about how increased fuel costs would impact these people and the competitiveness of these companies thus affected. There can be no question that increased fuel costs are a common reason for strongly voiced opposition – France’s recent “yellow vests” were not that extreme nor are farmers immune from driving their tractors to Helsinki in protest to stop regular traffic flowing.

The three key Finnish government ministers mentioned above have their differences and have expressed them these last weeks but they spoke and they speak with a single voice over the dire need for a EU policy to combat climate change. 

Even though they have their differences they never-the-less talk about how they will solve their differences with compromises and keep pushing hard for a reformed “Fit for 55%” to be passed in the coming 2 years. 

If the Germans can bury their hatchet with agreeing to have no new fossil fuel cars after 2035, then we can be sure that the Finns and a few other rich countries will find a way to agree on the necessary polices.

Today, 14.7.21, here in Finland the temperature outside at 16.00h is 33C (see above photo) – we are have had the hottest June ever, and July is already close to breaking all records for heat! 

You are simply irresponsible if you believe we do not need to stop the temperature rising even more. Complaining about the unbearable heat today is like a flying in a plane without any captain!

It is interesting to note that Macron is already complaining about “Fit for 55%”. He needs the French auto industry and its workers to remain president after the coming presidential election! The Germans are already using far more robots than the French and have understood that they must innovate faster to remain competitive. You only have to cast a glance at Tesla to see how fast the world is changing. 

Incumbents need to move over and stop expecting that they will keep on receiving the same benefits from producing old fashioned fossil fuel guzzlers. Is it so hard to see that electric cars will fall quickly in price as more and more are produced to fulfil pent up demand.

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