The Embassy of Finland in London held a climate seminar with ministerial level speakers from Finland and the UK
The Embassy of Finland in London held a high profile climate seminar at the official residence of Ambassador Markku Keinänen on Tuesday 10th of September 2019. The event was part of a larger Finnish EU presidency related programme organised by the Embassy. The event’s purpose was to present the climate objectives of both the Finnish Government and Finland’s EU Presidency, as well as create connections with British climate professionals and to find channels for cooperation between the two countries.
The main speakers for the first half of the event were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland Pekka Haavisto, the UK’s Minister for Climate Change Lord Duncan of Springbank, the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization Professor Petteri Taalas and the Head of Unit for International and Inter-Institutional Relations at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action Elina Bardram.
Professor Taalas gave the opening speech where he gave the audience examples of the consequences of climate change by presenting recent statistical data. Mr Haavisto stressed the position of Finland as a forerunner in climate issues, as well as Finnish high-quality know-how in climate-related technological development. Mr Haavisto also reminded the audience of the importance of civil activism in preventing climate change. As an example of such activism, Mr Haavisto raised the schoolchildren’s climate demonstrations in front the Finnish Parliament house as a positive way in raising awareness for climate change.
Lord Duncan, in turn, talked about the UK’s goal to achieve its net zero target in carbon emissions by 2050. He also stressed Finland’s high competence in many sectors and expressed his interest towards Finland’s district heating model, which he considered environmentally more sustainable than the gas-based system used by the British.
Ms Bardram emphasised the significance of the Paris Agreement of Climate Change, as well as the consensus of EU countries in climate policy negotiations. Ms Bardram had high hopes that negotiations will lead to positive end results in the near future.
The second half of the event consisted of a panel discussion with panellists Mr Tord Johnsson (Wärtsilä), Mr Michael Liebreich (Liebreich Associates), Ms Sonia Medina (Children’s Investment Fund Foundation) and Mr Janne Peljo (Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra). The panel was moderated by Mr Nick Mabey from the Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) think tank. The panellists discussed about, and debated over various topics, such as the importance of climate activism, an individual’s chances of making a difference, and about good and bad ways to prevent climate change.
After the talks were held, the guests had an opportunity for networking and tasting delicious sustainable (and thus vegetarian) canapés.