“If we lose the Arctic, we lose the globe” – Finnish politicians react to alarming climate change report

President Niinistö, Prime Minister Sipilä and other politicians speak out about the grave risks of climate change on Finland's natural resources.

File picture of polar bear standing on ice flow looking into the water / Credit: iStock

President Niinistö says there is “still a chance to save the Arctic, and to save the globe. But there is no time to waste”.

He is one of many Finnish politicians speaking today in the wake of a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC, which warns that there must be stronger actions against global warming.

Speaking at the Arctic Biodiversity Conference in Rovaniemi today, President Niinistö said there should be more, continued, focus on climate change hazards.

“Climate change should not only be in the headlines when a report comes out. It has to stay firmly on the top of our agenda for the foreseeable future. Tackling it is our responsibility for the generations that follow” says Niinstö.

“Climate change may not be the best conversation starter in every capital these days, but you can still find constructive ways to address the concrete issues behind it” he says.

The president’s office is also taking its own stand against climate change, with a promise to reduce its carbon footprint by at least two thirds by February 2024, when Niinistö’s term in office comes to an end. A statement from the president’s office gave no indication on how they plan to cut their carbon footprint.

Frontline politicians react

Although Finland’s political parties might have differences of opinion on how exactly to tackle climate change, they all at least agree it’s a problem.

“The message of the report is very clear. We must get more done and faster to reduce the effects of climate change” writes Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) on Twitter.

Sipilä plans to hold a climate change policy summit next month with representatives from all the parliamentary parties invited to take part.

National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo says that the IPCC issued “a serious warning”.

“The climate panel report anticipated accelerating global warming and growing problems. We must all take this seriously. Action is needed more and faster. In the EU, in Finland and in households” he says.

The impact of the IPCC report also brought opposition MPs to agree with the government.

“There is a need for a broad discussion on how carbon neutrality can be achieved already in 2035 and how to curb warming to 1.5°C. In addition to researchers and business people, young people are needed, those most affected by climate policy” says Social Democrat leader Antti Rinne.

“Left Alliance thinks mitigation of climate change is a task comparable to the construction of a welfare state, which requires the participation of society as a whole. The Left Alliance demands stricter climate decisions” says Li Andersson (Left).

Environment minister Kimmo Tiilikainen (Center) and Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen (NCP) issued a joint statement about the need for more social debate around climate change, noting that it should be one of the most important themes for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

“I hope the IPCC’s climate estimate won’t raise only a short term worry when it comes to climate change” says Mykkänen.

Arctic ministers meet in Rovaniemi

One of the largest events of Finland’s Arctic Council chairmanship is taking place this week in Rovaniemi.

It brings together more than 450 experts on Arctic Affairs to the city, with climate change also being debated at length.

According to the Ministry of Environment, ministers will also discuss biodiversity and preventing pollution.

“My consistent message is that we need to do more and faster climate action” says Kimmo Tiilikainen, who will be meeting with EU colleagues at the event.