Just before my nomination as Minister for the Environment on 23 September, more than 100 heads of states and some 800 leaders from business, finance and civil society from around the world gathered in New York. The purpose was to bring the leaders together to confirm their commitment to fighting climate change and to give new pledges to action.
The timing was spot on – now is the moment to switch gear. The scientific community is unequivocal that the climate system is warming, and many of the observed changes are unprecedented. Climate negotiations will culminate in Paris next year, with the aim of reaching a global agreement on curbing emissions after 2020. In December, I will be attending a UN conference in Lima, Peru, to make preparations for Paris, when we have a historic opportunity to respond adequately to the climate challenge. We still have a window of opportunity to change our course and prevent dangerous consequences, by keeping the global temperature from rising by more than 2° C.
it is clear that we need an ambitious and strong global agreement that brings together all major economies. To get there, we need a broad commitment from all sectors of society. It will not be a stroll in the park but the good news is that strong climate action has a solid economic case, too. This was the take-home message from most of the businesses and investors present in New York.
The mitigation of climate change creates a huge market for those who can provide the steps towards a low-carbon future. Finland can make use of this opportunity and become a pioneer. We are already front-runners in cleantech. We can utilise our biomass resources and expertise, our know-how on environmental technologies and ICT. We have well-educated engineers to drive this change, as well as the means to contribute sustainable solutions for global efforts on mitigating climate change and the loss of natural resources.
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