The Finnish Climate Summit stresses the time for action is now
Possibly the largest climate event ever to take place in Finland is not just a forum for the sharing of ideas. It is also the home for real action.
The Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra is teaming up with the Finnish Climate Change Panel and the Finnish Institute for International Affairs to organise the Finnish Climate Summit. The event will be held in Helsinki on 13 June.
“The idea is to get people together so we can make real progress,” says Oras Tynkkynen, senior advisor at Sitra for the carbon-neutral circular economy. “We need to move faster and further if we are to meet our Paris Agreement goals.”
About 500 business executives, climate experts, mayors and policy makers like MPs and ministers will be in attendance. The summit will be opened by the President of Finland Sauli Niinistö.
“Sitra’s job is to help Finland prepare for future challenges, and what is happening to our climate is a pressing and serious challenge,” Tynkkynen says. “In order to prosper and succeed we need to get serious.”
The morning session includes keynote speeches by Laurent Fabius, president of the historic Paris climate conference, former prime minister and current president of the French Constitutional Council, as well as Kristin Skogen Lund, director general of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise. A panel discussion will include both political and business leaders.
“The theme for the morning is ‘everyone, together’ because we need a broad movement to achieve the scale of change we require,” continues Tynkkynen. “We have to have the government, companies and the public to be involved. Together we can do a lot more than going it alone.”
He believes different elements of society can enable each other. The government can make the climate a priority and enact relevant regulations. This can enable the municipalities to make real changes, which can in turn allow citizens to do more. The result is a positive feedback loop where real action and real change occurs.
“Ambition, action, acceleration”
The afternoon will be three parallel events dedicated to the private sector, financing climate action and local action by cities and municipalities. The theme for the afternoon sessions is “ambition, action, acceleration.”
“We need to be more ambitious and do more than what the national commitments are so far,” Tynkkynen explains. “We also need to act right now. Ambition alone is not enough. Finally, we have to accelerate our speed of change. We don’t have time to waste.”
One example of acceleration is “implementation together with innovation.” There are already many great solutions in place throughout the world. We should implement these existing solutions and technologies now, instead of waiting and hoping for something new to be invented.
Building a groundswell of action
The Finnish Climate Summit is dedicated to what Finns are doing to save our climate, but this is a global challenge. The event is recognised by the UNFCCC as part of the Talanoa Dialogue, the process designed to help countries implement and enhance goals to mitigate climate change.
“Finland is in a good place. I think there is widespread consensus to take action,” says Tynkkynen. “Yet the challenge is many people do not realise we need to do much more, and maybe they don’t understand the scale and urgency of the task. Our goal for the summit is to help build a groundswell of action in Finnish society.”
The Finnish Climate Summit is a main venue for companies, local governments and others to announce their new climate commitments and actions. Please contact Sitra if you are interested in joining the summit.