Statement by President of the Republic of Finland, Mr. Sauli Niinistö, at the Leaders’ Summit COP24 in Katowice, Poland, 3 December 2018
Two months ago the special report of the IPCC showed us the radical difference half a degree makes. The consequences of a two-degree temperature rise would be dramatically more severe than those of 1.5 degrees. And at the moment, we are on a dangerous track to go well beyond two degrees.
There is still hope, but there is no time to waste. We have to act immediately. And ”we” means each and every one of us. All of us have to do more, and more quickly.
In 2015, Finland was one of the first countries to introduce a Climate Act, with a binding target of at least 80 % emission reductions by 2050. Since then, we have set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045. We have decided to ban the use of coal for energy in 2029.
Yet we also need to further accelerate our climate action. I have been glad to see that there is a growing willingness in the Finnish society to do so. Finland wants to show that it is possible to be a carbon-neutral, resource-efficient society without sacrificing our wellbeing or economic growth.
In Finland, we are already feeling the impact of climate change in our neighbourhood. The Arctic region is warming twice as fast as the global average. As the current chair of the Arctic Council, Finland is pushing to reduce the emissions of black carbon. The Arctic cannot be saved without CO2 mitigation, but reducing black carbon would bring additional and more immediate results in slowing down the temperature rise. And saving the Arctic is needed to save the globe.
We have one main task here in Katowice – to finalize the Paris rulebook. It will be a crucial step as we move towards the Secretary General’s Climate Summit next September.
We all know that the ambition level must be raised. We have to step up our efforts, together, starting right here and now. We owe it to the future generations.