Antti Kaikkonen, the chairperson of the Centre Parliamentary Group, says some of the proposals presented by an expert task force last week to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from transport are unreasonable.
“Mitigating climate change will be one of the most important tasks in the years to come also here in Finland. Finland has to do its part, no less,” he writes in a guest contribution to Iltalehti.
“Policy makers, however, are simultaneously responsible for making sure the situation does not become unreasonable in regards to prerequisites for the daily lives of people and the country as a whole. The proposal presented recently by the task force on transport climate policy has the right objective. Unfortunately, some of the proposals would complicate the lives of people and increase costs unreasonably,” said Kaikkonen.
The Finns Party Parliamentary Group has similarly expressed its opposition to the proposal, arguing that the government has already done enough to punish car owners.
“There is a limit to how much you can punish motorists, and the limit has already been breached. The transport sector employs over 100,000 Finns, and its net sales are nearly six billion [euros]. These jobs and businesses must be kept in Finland. We must also make sure our trade and industrial competitiveness is not shaken by steep increases in transport costs,” it stated.
Kaikkonen also reminded that Finland is a geographically large, yet sparsely populated, country where car is a necessity not only in rural areas but also in some urban areas.
“That is why the task force’s proposals on, for example, considerable fuel tax increases and road tolls are detached from the daily lives and realities of people. Not everyone can simply afford them,” he stressed.
He admitted that car ownership and use must become more climate-friendly in the future, but also underlined that the reforms must be carried out gradually, in a way that is fair also to low- and middle-income earners.
“Use your sense,” he stated.
“People tend own a car out of necessity; they must be able to get from one place to another. Usually, it is about getting to work or accessing services. Some can use the bus, train or another form of public transport, and that is great. We need more railways, but do show some mercy also to us car owners. We are not driving our cars out of spite,” argued Kaikkonen.
The expert task force last week published its final report on measures required to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from transport by 2045, proposing for example that road tolls be adopted and that the fuel tax be raised incrementally as of 2020.
Finland, it said, should seek to raise the number of electric and gas-powered cars on its roads to 670,000 and 130,000 respectively by 2030 and further to 2,000,000 and 250,000 by 2045.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi