Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin stresses climate action in New Year message

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin (pictured here at a press conference in Brussels in December 2019) said in her New Year message that Finland and Europe can be leaders in taking climate action. (Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images)
Marin said that society’s strength can’t be measured by the wealth of its most affluent members.

In her Prime Minister’s traditional New Year message, Sanna Marin said that Finland’s strength lies in “its people and their knowledge”, with education playing a key role in the country’s success.

Marin also lauded changes her government brings in from 1 January, which she says will raise the incomes of some 70 percent of Finns.

“The strength of a society is measured not by the wealth of its most affluent members, but by how well its most vulnerable citizens are able to cope,” writes Marin. “The question we need to ask is whether everyone has the chance to lead a life of dignity.”

The premier said that she wants to make Finland “a financially responsible, socially equitable and environmentally sustainable society”.

Carbon neutrality work to do

She cited the government’s goal to make Finland carbon-neutral by 2035, which is one of the most ambitious goals in the world.

“We are entering a decade during which we must find solutions for combating climate change,” wrote Marin. “This calls for decisions that reduce emissions and strengthen carbon sinks. We will rely on scientific data, while taking account of the social and regional impacts of the solutions proposed.”

She stated that Finland and Europe have the chance to be trailblazers in finding climate solutions, and suggested that bold decisions will need to be taken.

“There is enormous demand and a huge market for new climate technology,” wrote Marin. “Will our country have the bold pioneering spirit needed to prosper?”

Koivisto guidance

Finland has been criticised for maintaining subsidies for high-emission peat extraction and failing to implement measures to meet its lofty climate ambitions.

Closing out her message, Marin said she had enjoyed an Yle documentary series about former president Mauno Koivisto, which she said put recent turbulence in Finnish politics in its proper perspective.

She then quoted his guidance in uncertain times: “If we can’t know for sure how things will go, let’s assume that all will go well.”

You can read Sanna Marin’s New Year message in English in full here.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  2019 shaping up to be the second or third warmest year on record, says WMO provisional report, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Warmer, drier summer than usual in most of Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Greenlanders stay chill as the world reacts to their heatwave, CBC News

Iceland: Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls for climate action at Arctic Circle assembly, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Warm winter expected across the Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: 2018 drought took toll on Swedish farmers’ mental and fiscal health, research says, Radio Sweden

United States: Bering Sea region focus of recent papers on climate risk to northern communities, Eye on the Arctic

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