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Ministers Maria Ohisalo (Greens), Sanna Marin (SDP) and Katri Kulmuni talked about the conclusions of the government’s climate seminar, which according to recent reports widened the divide between the Greens and Centre. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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PETRI HONKONEN (Centre), a member of the Parliament’s Environment Committee, has urged the government to use common sense also in regards to its ambitious climate objectives.

“Responsible decision makers must also weigh up how the goals can be met in practice and how the measures will be visible in everyday lives – in the daily lives of people and businesses across Finland,” he pleaded in a press release on Sunday.

“This demand is all the more important in the area of climate policy. After all, the changes will affect all Finns and the entire country well into the future.”

His statement is directed specifically at the Green League. Maria Ohisalo, the chairperson of the Green League and Minister of the Interior, on Saturday voiced her frustration with the lack of progress the government has made in the area of climate policy, reminding that the whole government has committed to making ambitious climate policy decisions.

Honkonen on Sunday said ambition must “obviously” be part of all government work.

“Ambition must be paired with loads of realism and common sense in this particular matter. Finland has to do its part to prevent climate change, but it can’t and mustn’t mean that we shoot ourself in the foot,” he stated.

The Finnish government, he outlined, must pursue policies that simultaneously reduce emissions and create new jobs and promote entrepreneurship, while also being fair to all Finns and the whole of Finland.

“It is also important that climate policy funding is used on measures that are the most effective, rather than on measures that seem ‘ambitious’ to the public,” said Honkonen.

He viewed that it is positive that the government has also formally embarked on a road to replace fossil fuels as thoroughly as possible with domestic renewable fuels and other green solutions. The ruling coalition, he reminded, has also agreed that the changes will be made in such a way that takes into account social and regional equality.

The Centre and Green League have been at odds particularly in regards to the use of peat in energy production.

The five ruling parties only managed to agree on the establishment of a task force to mull over the issue, even though they have committed to at least halving the energy use of peat by 2030.

Honkonen on Sunday said peat cannot be replaced overnight.

“We still have our jointly agreed plan when it comes to peat. It is by no means realistic to think the use of peat could be stopped here and now with the snap of your fingers. It would leave the homes of hundreds of thousands without heating. Responsible decision makers also have to weigh up how the people employed in the industry can secure livelihood for themselves and their loved ones.”

Finland is one of the largest peat producers in the world and peat one of its largest sources of emissions. It is comparable to coal in terms of its impact on the climate.

The European Commission has outlined that member states should stop the energy use of coal and peat and transition to low-carbon alternatives, acknowledging that they will need financial support in the transition.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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