This page contains answers to questions on climate change and our views. For information on Climate Parents Finland, click here.
How can you be sure that climate change is man-made, due to human action?
The vast majority of climate researchers, as well as significant international research institutions (e.g. IPCC, UNEP, WMO, Finnish Meteorological Institute in Finland) all point out the climate is changing rapidly as a result of human action. According to the IPCC (5th assessment report, physical science basis), climate warming is 95% likely to be caused by human actions, especially greenhouse gas emissions. If greenhouse gas emissions cannot be rapidly and significantly reduced, they will pose a serious threat to our world’s ability to sustain life — during our children’s lifetime. This is something we absolutely do not want our children to face.
Why do you believe that climate change constitutes a threat to our children, rather than later generations?
The IPCC (5th assessment report, effects, adaptation and vulnerability) has observed that climate change poses serious risks to the well-being of people and nature everywhere in the world. The IPCC believes climate change will result in food shortage, endanger farming and coastal industries, increase disastrous weather conditions, threaten several cities because of a rise in sea level, and impair vital societal services such as the supply of water and electricity. The most vulnerable groups and the poorest populations are likely to suffer the most. According to current estimates, many of these problems will pose a threat to our children’s generation.
How marked is the predicted rise in temperature?
In the absence of significant reductions of emissions, the IPCC warns that the global average temperature will rise up to 5 degrees Celsius over a century. Globally, governments have agreed that the rise in global average temperature must be limited to no more than two degrees to avoid excessively high risks to humanity. The IPCC predicts that temperatures in Finland are likely to rise 4 degrees as soon as by 2060. Climate Parents Finland find it completely irresponsible that not enough is being done to protect the future of our children.
What should be done to slow down climate change?
Quick action is essential, since any delays will make it more difficult to achieve the target of 2 degrees and also increase the costs of mitigation actions. According to the IPCC (5th assessment report, mitigating climate change) the most important issue is to replace the use of fossil fuels with renewables and nuclear power and to introduce carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and cut down energy consumption. The greatest potential lies in reducing emissions produced by electricity production and in reducing deforestation.
Finland, too, must pay attention to the emissions of electricity production. The energy efficiency of buildings should also be improved since a large proportion of energy produced is used to warm housing. Climate change mitigation must be systematically addressed in developing public transport and in urban design.
These changes are challenging but feasible and absolutely necessary for our children’s sake. All of us can strive to reduce their CO2 footprint individually. Nevertheless, the main responsibility lies with decision-makers whose decisions create a solid ground for sustainable choices. Slowing down climate change must be a top political priority.
Finland is currently facing a number of pressing challenges (elderly care, poverty, unemployment, marginalisation of the young etc.). Why should we focus on slowing down climate change?
Climate change threatens the basic staples of human life in the world. There is no guarantee that the world would be able to sustain its current population after a temperature rise of more than 4 degrees Celsius, given the difficulties in food production that this would entail. We realise that there are a number of important problems in Finland and abroad. However, not addressing climate change will make it considerably more difficult or even impossible to tackle these problems. It is therefore important to make climate change issues a top priority in the next 5 to 10 years. The consequences of climate change may be on a completely different scale compared to other problems we are facing today.
What does it matter what we do in Finland, considering that Finland’s emissions only constitute a tiny proportion of all emissions globally?
Fossil fuels must be given up everywhere. All countries are first and foremost responsible for reducing their own emissions. Today, Finland’s emissions per capita are among the highest in the world, which means that the need for reductions is also great. We must act nationally as best we can and simultaneously lobby for a much more ambitious climate policy, consistent with climate science, both in the EU and internationally. The most important thing is to promote the negotiation of a worldwide climate treaty in 2015. However, such a treaty requires the active and exemplary commitment of all countries.
On the other hand, this is not only a matter of obligation; green economy also offers great opportunities. The world will inevitably adopt green energy. Being at the forefront of this development does not only involve costs but also brings great opportunities for business.
Our family has two cars and we also eat meat. Can I still be a member of Climate Parents Finland?
Yes. While it is important to try and reduce your carbon footprint, individuals cannot bear the full responsibility for slowing down climate change. Individual actions by individual persons are not enough; the structures of society as a whole must be reformed. Climate Parents Finland aims to help create a society in which a climate-friendly lifestyle goes without saying. For instance, with appropriate traffic and land use planning and urban design, more and more families can manage without two cars.