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Strong support from Climate Policy Roundtable for recovery measures that mitigate climate emissions

Ministry of the Environment 28.5.2020 13.43 | Published in English on 28.5.2020 at 16.30
Press release

The Climate Policy Roundtable held its first meeting on Thursday 28 May. The focus of the meeting that for the most part took place through virtual channels was on recovery after the coronavirus crisis. The members of the roundtable expressed their strong support for climate-sustainable recovery measures.

“Rebuilding that is not ecologically sustainable will not secure our future. The worst thing we could do after the coronavirus crisis would be to aggravate another crisis,” says Sara Nyman, Youth Climate Delegate and vice-chair of the Climate Policy Roundtable.

“Green recovery and implementation of the European Green Deal offer good opportunities to improve the balance of exchange: increase employment, reduce costs arising from fossil fuels and create new business, while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Jouni Keronen, CEO of the Climate Leadership Coalition and second vice-chair of the Climate Policy Roundtable.

Different actors in society are broadly represented in the roundtable, from advocacy groups to NGOs and labour unions and youth organisations to the scientific community. Background presentations on recovery that supports the carbon-neutrality target were given by Mari Pantsar and Hannele Pokka, who co-chair the working group on sustainable recovery appointed by the Government, and chair of the Finnish Climate Change Panel Markku Ollikainen.

The working group on sustainable recovery stresses that all recovery measures to be taken by the State will also be assessed from the perspective of their climate and environment impacts. To support this, the working group has drawn up a set of criteria to assess the impacts of individual measures on the climate, sufficiency of natural resources, circular economy, biodiversity, and state of the environment. The working group proposes a number of concrete measures to boost the economy that also support the achievement of the carbon neutrality target.

Markku Ollikainen presented the views of the Climate Change Panel on the six recovery packages that would comprise improving the energy efficiency of buildings, supporting emissions-free transport infrastructure, municipal rail investments, network investments, boosting the production of renewable energy, and renovating the heating systems of buildings.

The members of the roundtable also suggested several other measures to support the transition towards a carbon-neutral society while looking for a way out of the economic recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The topics discussed included the role of private financing, research and development, making use of the EU recovery fund, nature-based solutions, role of municipalities and public procurement, linking employees and workplaces to the fair and just transition, and Finland’s climate handprint abroad: we can also help other countries to recover by offering the low-carbon solutions we have developed.

“I wish to thank the members of the roundtable for the excellent discussions. Sustainable recovery has wide support in Finland. The supplementary budget negotiations next week and the government budget session in the autumn give us the opportunity to discuss these proposals in a more concrete way. Fast action is needed to promote e.g. renewable energy and renovation of the energy systems of buildings, which many studies have proven as effective means to promote a sustainable economic recovery,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen, who chaired the meeting. Prime Minister Sanna Marin was on sick leave and could not attend.

The fourth supplementary budget proposal to be given to Parliament on 4 June includes fast recovery measures related to the coronavirus crisis that also aim to promote the fight against climate change and support the achievement of the carbon neutrality target.

“This has been one of the main criteria when assessing the proposals at the Ministry of Finance. In the preparation of the supplementary budget proposals it is required that the measures have a fast impact, which means that they should be introduced as soon as possible during the current year,” says Jari Partanen, State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance.

The Government appointed the Climate Policy Roundtable in February 2020. The purpose of the roundtable is to create a common understanding of how Finland can make a fair and just transition to a carbon neutral society even faster than envisaged so far. The roundtable does not make decisions, but its work will support the preparation and implementation of climate policy at the national level. The aim is to increase the acceptability of climate policy and give different stakeholders the opportunity to participate more closely in the national preparation of climate actions.

Inquiries

Matti Niemi, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister, tel. +358 295 160 165, matti.niemi(at)vnk.fi

Jari Partanen, State Secretary, tel. +358 295 047 225, jari.partanen(at)vm.fi

Riikka Yliluoma, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, tel. +358 295 250 091, riikka.yliluoma(at)ym.fi

Sara Nyman, Youth Climate Delegate, Finnish National Youth Council Allianssi, tel. +358 40 7314818, [email protected]

Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Coalition, tel. +358 50 453 4881, [email protected]

Merja Turunen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Secretary-General of the Climate Policy Roundtable, tel. +358 295 250 387, [email protected]

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