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IPCC's special report causes hot discussion in Finland

09 Aug 2019, 01:40 ( 4 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Photo Source: Environment and Climate Change.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Krista Mikkonen said on Thursday the special report published by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) strengthened the view that climate-related measures will be required also in land usage.

Mikkonen told local media that land usage will be included in the Finnish climate act. It has not been there so far.

Johanna Buchert, president and CEO of the governmental Natural Resources Institute said that carbon sinks must be essentially increased. "Finland has a global responsibility in this matter", she said at a Finnish launch event of the report.

Markku Ollikainen, chairman of the Finnish National Climate Panel, said the capturing of forest area for agricultural use in Finland should be stopped. He suggested that a financial sanction should be enacted.

Ollikainen said the ongoing Finnish forest loss is mainly attributed to construction and agriculture, and not to the "pulp boom" and the record intakes of wood into the industrial process.

Mikkonen said the government plans to introduce a fee for changing the use of land. That would reduce the loss of forests to construction needs.

There are also plans to create a system to compensate forest owners for their measures to increase the carbon sink capabilities, she said.

Jussi Halla-aho, chairman of Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party), meanwhile said there is no sense in Finland to reduce wood consumption or the burning of peat for energy and heating.

Halla-aho said that his party does not disagree with the climate aims, but ambitious climate legislation would only drive industries to continents with more liberal laws.

Halla-aho highlighted the need to change its trade policies. "A stricter approach is needed against imports from the countries that pollute the most," he told local media.

Mia Rahunen, a climate specialist for the World Wildlife Fund, remarked that the Finnish carbon sink actually diminished last year by thirty percent. The reason was the increased use of forests, she said in a media release.

Sini Harkki, the country director of Greenpeace, demanded that burning of peat must be stopped in Finland, but in a way the people dependent on the peat industry get some other earnings. "Finland can show an example on how low-carbon society can be built on a fair and just basis," she said.