Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, views that cars, heating and meat-eating are the most pressing climate issues in Finland. (Credit: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)
Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior, views that cars, heating and meat-eating are the most pressing climate issues in Finland. (Credit: Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


Cars, heating and meat-eating are the key climate problems in Finland, views Kai Mykkänen (NCP), the Minister of the Interior.

Mykkänen on Monday said Finland will have no choice but to introduce sweeping changes to address the problems following an updated estimate of the pace of global warming published earlier this month by experts at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“The research group concluded with high confidence that the critical threshold of 1.5 degrees for global warming [...] will be breached as soon as in 2030–2052,” he wrote in a blog on Puheenvuoro.

“We are no longer talking about our grandchildren!”

“For example, we are close to witnessing hundreds of millions of people become climate refugees and how it will have an impact on the lives of a growing number of us,” said Mykkänen.

Mykkänen estimated that the world must continue to invest in nuclear power and artificial ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The Nordic region, however, is different in that electricity is not a problem as “90 per cent of it is produced in a carbon-dioxide-free way”.

“Our challenges are eating, heating and transport,” he listed.

“Whether Fennovoima builds a nuclear power plant in Hanhikivi or whether Finland increases its wind power capacity two- or threefold, on the other hand, will not be decisive for our climate efforts. The bigger climate questions for us are can we halve the amount of heat produced by burning fuels in the Helsinki region and will Finns switch to electric cars as soon as next decade rather than the 2030s,” wrote Mykkänen.

He admitted that the upcoming prohibition on the use of coal for energy is a step in the right direction, but added that the special treatment of peat must be abolished and the carbon tax on heating fuels raised determinedly in the years to come.

Electrification, meanwhile, will be the solution in the transport sector. Mykkänen viewed that the tax system must be overhauled to ensure cars with non-combustion engines will be the more affordable option to consumers no later than 10 years from today.

“The car, vehicle and fuel taxes must be adjusted dramatically to accomplish this,” he underscored.

Mykkänen also pointed out that there is no escaping the fact our diets must consist of less meat. One way to accomplish this, he envisioned, is to introduce a tax based on the estimated carbon footprints of foods.

“Should the government do something about our diets?” he asked. “The question is quite the taboo. But surely it is possible to ask why do we consider it natural to tax emissions from heating, electricity and transport but not from food? Would a food tax based on estimated carbon footprints be a fatal blow to Finnish livestock industry?”

“Not necessarily. I believe Finnish meat, milk and eggs would fare well in comparison to Brazilian alternatives in terms of the carbon footprint of the transport and production methods,” he said.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi