Demonstrators on the steps of the Parliament House in Helsinki on 1 October 2021. Helsingin Sanomat has commissioned a survey showing that the public is not exactly convinced that policy makers are ready to take action required to curb global warming. (Vesa Moilanen – Lehtikuva)


THE FINNISH PUBLIC are rather pessimistic about the climate pledges made by nations around the globe, finds a survey commissioned by Helsingin Sanomat.

Over 70 per cent of the respondents expressed their doubt about the ability of humankind to limit global warming to 2°C, or if at all possible to 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels in accordance with goals laid down in the Paris Agreement.

The climate policy measures adopted around the world do not yet reflect the ambition of the goals, with scientists estimating recently that the current measures would allow temperatures to rise by 2.7°C.

Most Finns appear to be at least somewhat doubtful that the pace of climate actions picks up. A fifth of the respondents stated that they are absolutely not confident and a half that they are not terribly confident that the targets will be met. Only three per cent, by contrast, said they are very confident that the global effort to combat the climate crisis will succeed.

Helsingin Sanomat highlighted that pessimism was the prevalent mood in all groups of respondents.

Students and young people were the most optimistic about combating the climate emergency – perhaps somewhat surprisingly as climate anxiety has prompted many to participate in demonstrations and school strikes. Roughly 33 per cent of under 30-year-olds and 30 per cent of pupils and students said they are at least somewhat confident that global warming can be contained within the limits laid down in the Paris Agreement.

Young people were simultaneously markedly pessimistic, with nearly one-quarter of under 30-year-olds saying they have no confidence whatsoever that the targets will be met.

Respondents between 40 and 49 years of age, though, were the most pessimistic age group, with fewer than 20 per cent of them predicting that the effort to contain global warming will be a success.

The responses also correlated clearly with the financial situation of respondents. While as many as 80 per cent of those in some financial difficulty lacked confidence in the effort to fight the crisis, the corresponding percentage among those financially better off was about 66.

Supporters of the Left Alliance also stood out as pessimists: 95 per cent of them said they are either not at all or not terribly confident about the effort. The corresponding percentage stood at 80 for supporters of the Green League. Supporters of the Social Democrats, by contrast, were the most optimistic, with more than one-third saying they are at least moderately confident about the effort.

The respondents were additionally asked to gauge the ability and willingness of various organisations to take action necessitated by the crisis.

Finns, the results show, are confident especially in multinational organisations such as the European Union and United Nations. Relatively many also expressed at least some degree of confidence in citizens and consumers (38%) and businesses (36%).

Confidence in the ability and willingness of policy makers and investors to take action was significantly lower, at 22 and 23 per cent, respectively.

Kantar TNS interviewed 1,025 people for the survey between 1 and 6 October.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT