Statement by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the UN Climate Summit in New York on 23 September 2014

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It is a great honor for me to address this United Nations Climate Summit. I wish to thank Mr. Secretary-General for challenging us to act. Because act we must. If we fail to do so, we could push the climate beyond the tipping point, with the situation spiraling out of our control. This is why we have to make sure that we reach a global climate agreement next year in Paris.

Mr. Secretary-General

Your request to intensify efforts for faster climate action has been heard in Finland. As stated last year in the Warsaw climate conference, Finland will contribute to the Green Climate Fund. Now I am proud to announce that Finland intends to contribute her fair share to the Initial Resource Mobilization of the fund.

Finland´s domestic long-term goal is to become carbon-neutral. In June, our Government submitted for parliamentary approval Finland´s Climate Act. This act aims at putting into law a long-term mitigation target of at least 80% emissions reduction by 2050. The act covers both mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, Finland is heading at phasing out coal in power plants by 2025.

The government’s action in Finland is complemented by strong local and regional action. Over 40% of Finnish municipalities are engaged in systematic climate efforts. Nineteen Finnish forerunner municipalities, together with businesses, citizens and experts, aim at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 % from 2007 levels by 2030. And more will follow.

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Actions to mitigate climate change can be seen as opportunities. This is why we have launched our national strategies for cleantech business and bioeconomy. Our goal is to double our cleantech business by 2020. This will help us to further mitigate the effects caused by climate change. By utilizing our biomass resources and expertise, Finland can contribute sustainable solutions for global efforts to mitigate climate change and loss of natural resources.

Predictable climate policy also creates a  platform for low-carbon businesses. A good example of this is the Climate Leadership Council recently formed by major Finnish companies together with the Finland’s Innovation Fund.

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The gravity of our situation is clear. Only urgent climate action by all of us can help us overcome threats related to climate change. We need to make sure that we do everything we can to stop passing this dangerous legacy to our children.