Helsinki Urban Folk vs. Centre Party Farmers

The Finnish government is headed up by one tough lady, a Social Democrat, who refused to give in to two of the other coalition parties, the Greens and the Centre Party, over Climate Change policies. The Greens wanted meaningful and concrete policies to curb fossil fuel use, while the Centre party folk dug their hooves into the muddy fields and demanded that heating oil tax should not be increased. The farming community heat their homes and barns with relatively cheap heating oil, which, just like peat, is a big source of nasty pollution.

She told them to come back after 12 hours with a compromise solution, or else… we do not know what “or else” meant, but we all know that none of the parties here want a government crisis

The right-wing press, (basically the two main media companies), owned a by a few super rich families claimed that there will be a government crisis… They do not like the present coalition – they would rather have their own parties in government to lower taxes and cut welfare benefits while maximising taxpayer support for their newspapers and for big companies! This latter group get taxpayer grants for R&D innovation while paying out a much larger amounts as bonuses to the bosses and at least 30% of profits out as dividends.

After today’s (9.9.21) deadline the two parties did come out with a compromise and now we are back on track to normal life with the five parties working together in sweet harmony.

However, one must be amused by this charade. The City of Helsinki has around half a million residents who woke up this morning to the news that their district heating and electricity company called “Helen” will increase the price of district heating by 30% – meaning that most people will see their heating bill rise by around €50 each month. That is a lot of money for ordinary residents whose average income is around €3000, and much less for pensioners. Helen is a natural monopoly and there are no other alternative heating sources that can be implemented easily or cheaply. Helen must pass on the increased costs of spewing out too many greenhouse gases because they continue willy-nilly to use coal.

The problem here is that it is OK for urban folk to bear these extra costs because Helen has not invested enough in renewables like ground heat, solar or wind, but continue to import coal to heat us and pollute the air. On the other hand farmers and other country bumpkins can continue to pollute the air with cheap heating oil! 

It sees that our dear PM has completely missed this point which she could have used with great success with the Centre Party that just want to keep their head in the sand, or should we say “in the peat and barrels of heating oil”.

Climate Change needs meaningful and concrete policies to curb fossil fuel use – the Greens are right to stick to their objectives. Even though Finland is one of the best in the world in maintaining sustainable policies, much more must be done. This topic is not just important, but crucial for the safe future of our children and grandchildren.

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