High level climate discussion at SuomiAreena: There is hope for a solution to the climate crisis

Press release 2014-07-17 at 13:14

The panel discussion ‘Low-Carbon Future – From Pledges to Concrete Action’ convened by Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö at the SuomiAreena event in Pori Finland laid groundwork for the high-level climate conference of the UN Secretary General, to be held in New York in September 2014.

“Given that the cost of climate inaction outweighs the cost of action, we urge government leaders to put a price on carbon to drive investment towards clean and resilient development” said World Bank Group Vice President Rachel Kyte. Kyte's areas of responsibility include the World Bank’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as matters pertaining to climate financing. In recent years, the World Bank has changed its financing principles in such a way that climate impacts are taken into account in all of the bank's financing decisions.

Some recent positive signs suggest that the world is finally taking the climate challenge seriously. In early June, President of the United States Barack Obama published the goal of reducing the country's emissions from energy production by 30% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. The European Commission, on the other hand, suggests a reduction goal of 40% for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in its climate and energy package.

“Concrete examples of building a low-carbon economy are now needed. The Finnish Climate Change Act has already received positive attention on an international level, when Al Gore raised it as an example of the strong actions needed to mitigate climate change. Doing nothing is simply not an option we have,” Minister of the Environment Ville Niinistö said.

The aim of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's meeting in September is to make governments, the business sector, financial institutions and organisations enter into significant commitments leading towards a carbon-neutral society. The commitments are needed to limit the warming of the climate to less than two degrees.

“The 2015 climate conference in Paris is drawing closer. At the same time, we can see that people around the world are no longer waiting to see what kind of international treaty will be made at some point; instead, actions are taken and commitments are made to mitigate climate change all the time. The negotiations will raise a roof on the whole house, but the house itself is already being built,” said Niinistö.

Actors from different sectors of society participated in the discussion convened by Niinistö. In addition to World Bank Group Vice President Kyte, views on building a low-carbon society were also presented by Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Wylbur Simuusa, Director Rabab Fayad from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Director of the UN Climate Technology Centre and Network Jukka Uosukainen, Senior Adviser for Sitra and Ombudsman for the Fortum Foundation Jouni Keronen, as well as Richard McLellan, Director of Footprint at WWF International.

You can see the Low-Carbon Future panel discussion on video at the Finnish MTV3's SuomiAreena site:

More information:

Requests for interviews with the participants: Communications Manager Suvi Reijonen, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)50 544 7508, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Erkki Perälä, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)295 250 385, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

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