Perspectives on Climate Change & Economic Growth – Comment statement 2.12.2014

10.12.2014 | Ajankohtaista, Puheet

Tämä on Marjo Matikainen-Kallströmin kommenttipuheenvuoro Eduskunnan talousvaliokunnan ilmastoseminaarissa 2.12.2014

Your Excellencies the Ambassadors, Honoured Experts, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Thank you for your interesting presentations! Next I will share you some remarks on today’s topic.

The Prime Minister of Finland, Alex Stubb has a habit of summarising his message in three points. So now I try the same technique and introduce you my three points:

1) Global rules are needed – there cannot be freeloaders
2) The means of the climate policy must be technology neutral and expense neutral. The latter meaning that energy production must be market-based in the long-term
3) The strength of Finland is forests. Wood act as carbon drain and substitute coal as an energy source

The cold fact is that the world must slash CO2 emissions at least 41 percent by 2050 on the way to reaching zero net emissions in 2100. The climate change does not care about borders of the nation states. In the same time it is only nations that can enter into binding agreements. That is why we need global rules and global control system in fight against the climate change. There cannot be freeloaders, everybody must take part in saving our planet.

It is also important to have a diverse set of energy sources. We must abandon coal as an energy source as soon as possible if the commercialization of CCS does not change the situation.
In the period of transition subsidies for green technology are justifiable but in the long-term market-based energy production is the only reasonable solution. Climate policy should be technology neutral. After defining the allowed level of emissions we should let the markets decide the best technology. In the long-term we should get rid of subsidies which distort the energy markets.

Former Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen set up a parliamentary committee on energy and climate issues in June 2013 to prepare a roadmap of climate and energy policy to the year 2050. I represented the National Coalition Party in the committee with the Minister of Economy Jan Vapaavuori.

Now the roadmap is ready. The target is that Finland would be a carbon neutral society in 2050. The carbon neutral Finland 2050 requires decreasing the carbon dioxide emissions 80-95 percent from the level of the 1990s. It is based on European Council’s decision from 2009 to cut emissions.

Finland has a one big strength – forests. Finland is one of the most forested countries of the world. Approximately 75 % of the land of Finland is forest. By careful management of forests adaptation to the climate change can be enhanced. It also helps to control the level of carbon in the forests. There are at least three ways how forests can help to slow global warming:

1) Wood can be used as a substitutive energy source instead of fossil sources.
2) Wood bands carbon from the atmosphere
3) Forests store carbon (threes, wood products, soil)

Although wood is the most important renewable energy source for Finland it is necessary to sustain a wide range of sustainable energy sources. It contains nuclear power as well, as a solution of period of transition.

From my point of view the climate change is not only a threat, it is an opportunity as well. We should not regard environment and economy as opposites to each other. New technology saves resources and same time it creates new business opportunities. Finland is one of the world’s leading countries in cleantech industry. The strength of Finland is that we have a diverse set of energy sources. In order to increase the share of bioenergy, the government of Finland has recently raised subsidies for wood in energy generation and decreased taxes on peat.

The global climate conference will be arranged in Paris next year. In Paris the EU should negotiate as a unified front. This time we must be more successful than in Copenhagen 2009. The Lima COP20 climate change conference started yesterday. I’m a member of Finnish delegation and I’ll join the conference next week. Succeeding of the Lima conference is crucial for the Paris meeting. Lima COP20 should create foundation for political process. Essential point is how the political process is managed forward from Lima to Paris.

As MP Pekkarinen pointed out in the beginning, positive news was heard from the recent meeting of the leaders of the USA and China. It gives us hope that progress on international level can be reached.

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