The outcome of events this week will play a crucial role in determining our ability to manage the climate crisis we now face.

Following the recent parliamentary elections in Finland, negotiations are underway to agree a legislative programme for the new coalition government. Climate change is a key theme for these negotiations. We hope that the legislative programme will prioritise Finland’s ability to secure more ambitious climate objectives for the EU during the country’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union; allow Finland to invest more heavily in the development of products and services that have a positive climate impact and establish a framework setting out how Finland can quickly achieve climate neutrality, with a focus on developing more climate-positive carbon sinks and stores through international cooperation.

The European Parliament elections due to take place this weekend are particularly significant, for the EU members states and the world as a whole.  If the EU fails to take decisive action on the climate crisis during the next parliamentary term, it is extremely unlikely that any other country or continent will do so either. There is only so much sand in the hourglass; if the buck continue to be passed to future parliaments, the level of atmospheric greenhouse gases will be so high that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees would require such drastic action that our democratic systems and institutions may no longer be able to deliver them.

In early May, CLC joined an unprecedented coalition of international corporate leaders to submit a petition calling for European heads of state to take immediate action to tackle the climate emergency. Among the hundreds of signatories were representative from a number of Finnish organisations, including Technology Industries of Finland, the Finnish Environment Institute and Fingo, the organisation representing Finnish NGOs.

CLC supports the aims of the petition, which include the following:

  • The EU must take more decisive action on climate change and agree a pathway to carbon neutrality, including mid-term targets, as quickly as possible;
  • We must reduce our reliance of fossil energy and improve our energy and resource efficiency;
  • We must increase our renewable energy capacity and adopt new circular economy models;
  • We must increase our renewable energy capacity and adopt new circular economy models;
  • We need to enhance ecological diversity and the transition to the low carbon economy must be carried out fairly; and
  • We stress that progress must be made on carbon pricing to drive the investment that is needed. You can view our video on carbon pricing at CAN Europe’s Climate Action Call website.

On Friday, we are delighted to show our support and take part in the Global Strike for Future organised by young people around the world. This is a message from Atte Ahokas, a representative of the Finnish Fridays for Future movement, to CLC members: “The time is now. So far, there has been a failure to respond to climate change properly, and that is why young people around the world will be taking to the streets for the second international climate strike on 24 May. More than a million people took part in the first strike. This time, strikes will be happening at 1,200 locations in 110 countries. We are striking so that adults wake up and start taking the climate crisis seriously. It’s great that at CLC you have woken up to the reality that we now face. Keep spreading the message.”

If you can, join us!  And don’t forget to vote on Sunday.  These are the most important elections ever.

Mari Pantsar, Sitra and Jouni Keronen, CLC

P.S. Oh and before we forget, we’ve promised to write a book about all of this: At the crossroads – leadership in the age of climate change (Tienhaarassa – Johtajuus ilmastonmuutoksen aikakaudella). You can find out more in the Docendo catalogue. So far, 2019 has given us so much material to work with. The profits from the book will go to the most important cause there is: providing climate education for young people.