I find climate change to be among one of the topics that really scare me and has for a long time. There are of course arguments for and against this issue, whether it exists or not. Some people would say it doesn’t exist because there have been radical changes in weather for as long as there has been life on this planet. Just like what Susanne pointed out in class when I mentioned the exceptionally warm summer last year. There were massive forest fires all through last summer in Russia that also affected Finland very much due to the smoke. Helsinki is at least 1000km away from the fires, yet the smoke was horrible and lasted for weeks, since the Russian government did not want to accept any foreign help (firefighters and equipment) although their own infrastructure was very insufficient. As far back as I remember, there has never been a summer so dry. A lot of people relying on their own wells for water had severe problems. And currently the winter is so warm that none of the natural playing fields that could previously be used for ice skating, like in my childhood, haven’t frozen for years. Cross-country-skiing is not possible in my neighbourhood anymore either. Therefore, I can’t shake the feeling of how the world’s enormous emissions are adding to the effect of climate change.
This is why I wanted to see if the topic was currently on the news in Finland. I certainly didn’t have to search for long, as the first place I checked yesterday, the largest commercial news channel in Finland, MTV3, had two news articles related to the subject on the same day! One on car emissions tax, and one on an international meeting held in Finland about climate change. Then when I checked again today, the first article on the news was about incinerating waste for energy. In the past week, the President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, has criticised the Kyoto agreement because it deprives resources that could be used to develop renewable energy sources and increases the use of nuclear power.
There has also been an article questioning the fact that many environmental crimes go unpunished. It is just like our professor said: news on natural disasters and climate change are very much on the rise. As the Finnish Parliament elections are coming up later this spring, I am convinced that all these environmental issues publicized in the last 6 months will play a huge role in all campaigns.
The ministry of the environment states in today’s article that a work group has made new targets for the next ten years on waste treatment and the suggestions are radical, yet implementable. Their main aim is to first and foremost diminish waste creation and also taxation on natural resources is proposed.
It seems that Finland uses taxation for everything, but I think it has its benefits as well! For instance to help the problems of drinking or obesity taxation is also used. There is already high tax on alcohol and in the future unhealthy foods will be taxed more to subsidise healthier ones.
I sincerely hope climate change is something we can still reverse, even if it takes until 2050 to see the effects!