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Government appoints new Climate Panel, Markku Ollikainen to continue as Chair

Ministry of the Environment 19.12.2019 14.23
Press release

The Government appointed a new Climate Panel today, to be chaired by Markku Ollikainen, Professor of Environmental and Resources Economics at the University of Helsinki, who also chaired the previous Panel. The new Panel has a total of 15 members, ten of whom are new. The Panel will elect a deputy chair from among its members. The Panel’s working term will be 1 January 2020–31 December 2023.

The role of the Finnish Climate Panel is defined in the Climate Change Act, which entered into force in 2015. The Panel is a scientific and independent actor that promotes dialogue between science and policymakers in the preparation of climate and energy policy. According to the Act, the Panel supports the planning of climate policy and related decision-making. The Panel’s opinion must be requested concerning plans under the Climate Change Act. The Climate Change Act is currently being reformed, so it is possible that the functions of the Panel will be further specified in the Act. Funding for the Panel has also been increased to EUR 750,000 per year so that the Panel can better provide its expertise to support the Government.

“The Government wants to make strongly knowledge-based policy. It is therefore very important that sufficient resources are now being secured for the panel and that its secretariat is being strengthened,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.

Members from a wide range of disciplines

Higher education institutions and research institutes were given the opportunity to propose members for the Panel, and the Ministry of the Environment received a total of 60 proposals. The selection criteria were that members should have a doctoral degree in a field relevant to the Panel's tasks, an active role in research, the ability to work as part of a multidisciplinary team, the ability to communicate information between research and decision-making and the possibility to participate actively in the Panel’s activities.

The Panel represents broad knowledge of both natural and social sciences to ensure that it has the expertise needed to manage the tasks specified in the Act. Its members have expertise in economic and legal matters, energy issues, forests and carbon sinks, transport, municipal climate measures, consumption, social acceptability, health and adaptation. In addition, balanced regional representation and the requirements of the Equality Act have been taken into account in the selection process.

The Panel's activities are supported by its scientific secretariat and Secretary-General.

First Climate Panel under Climate Change Act assessed as effective

During its previous term, the Climate Panel carried out 21 projects and issued a total of 20 opinions on climate policy plans under the Climate Change Act. It also produced memorandums at the request of ministers. The Climate Panel has prepared a report on the emissions gap, a model for calculating the costs of electric vehicles, various forest calculations and a climate education report. An independent evaluation of the Panel's activities was conducted in 2019, according to which the Panel's work has strengthened the scientific perspective in climate policy decision-making and has had a constructive impact on the public debate on climate change.

Inquiries:

Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 50 414 1682, [email protected]

Markku Ollikainen, Chair of the Climate Panel, University of Helsinki, tel. +358 29 415 8065, [email protected]

Heta Heiskanen, Secretary-General of the Climate Panel, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 380, [email protected]

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