Saturday guest We now have “hemputist” hope, says climate panel Markku Ollikainen and says how the government would make electric cars more common

According to Markku Ollikainen, the government has created a political problem for internal combustion engines in vain.

Finland chair of the climate panel Markku Ollikainen is a vision of how electric cars would become more common in Finland. The panel has also presented its proposals to our government.

“In this case, this government has not acted terribly cleverly. Let’s create a political problem where it shouldn’t arise, ”says Ollikainen.

He refers to the parties’ policy that the fuel tax will not be increased. Ollikainen is worth it proposal, where the increase in fuel tax would be offset by a reduction in car tax.

The electrification of motoring became another topic of discussion when the European Commission proposed reducing emissions from new cars to zero by 2035.

Ollikainen thinks that the proposal, like the entire Commission’s climate package, supports Finland’s goals. The pressure from car manufacturers and the supply of electric cars are growing.

Read more: The EU’s climate package could scrap the resale value of internal combustion cars – driving an electric car will be cheaper in the future than driving a petrol or diesel car, says the expert

Read more: EU climate package blocks sales of new petrol and diesel cars, Neste considers package necessary due to climate crisis

Electric cars According to Ollikainen, there are first two clear conditions for generalization. They hardly come as a surprise.

“There will be no electric cars in the cities if the apartment building charging doesn’t work. And long-distance passengers, who benefit most from an electric car, will not switch to them if an efficient highway charging system does not work, ”Ollikainen says.

“Gas stations have pretty much taken the line that they don’t offer charging stations. Where is the mandatory legislation? ”

According to Ollikainen, electric cars are becoming more common, with each car bringing two or three additional cars into traffic as people’s experiences and interest grow.

After the increase in support, a significant part of Finns would have the opportunity to switch to an electric car in a few years, Ollikainen says.

Third the temptation would be to increase the subsidy for the purchase of an electric car to EUR 6,000.

Today, the buyer of a new all-electric car can receive a purchase subsidy of 2,000 euros. Ollikainen bases his proposal on the calculations of his research group.

After the increase in support, a significant part of Finns would have the opportunity to switch to an electric car in a few years, Ollikainen says.

He believes that used electric cars priced below € 10,000 would be brought to market and the prices of new electric cars would fall to the level of internal combustion engines by 2025.

“And then an increase in fuel prices through a tax or through transport emissions trading is justified when there is an opportunity to switch to something else. And there is no need to apricot whether this is fair or not. ”

Read more: EU package accelerates traffic change: More than half of the cars sold in Finland could be fully electric cars by 2027, estimates the car industry

Read more: Finland would like at least the production of gas cars to continue – “It is unfortunate that the Commission and the car industry are sticking to electrification”

Government the goal has been to reduce transport emissions by half by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

Ollikainen says that if electric cars became more common and the current volume of biofuels were shifted entirely to heavy traffic, the goal would be achieved almost completely.

However, halving may not be enough. According to Ollikainen, the European Commission’s recent proposals for the Union’s climate action mean tightening the target.

Read more: EU Commission unveils giant climate package: carbon taxes at borders, zero emissions from cars, investments in clean energy

Ollikainen hopes that the consequences of the package will be properly proportioned in the public debate.

In Finland, special attention has been paid to winter shipping. The Commission wants to extend emissions trading to shipping, ie to make polluters pay.

In winter, ships cause more emissions, and Finland thinks it would be fair if they got relief from costs.

According to Ollikainen, this is mainly a detail that is handled with a small correction.

“Of course, the national interest must be pursued, but that is not the biggest thing in Finland’s challenges.”

“Yes, that means a sweaty thing for the government.”

Major in practice, this concerns transport and agriculture. It has been difficult for Finland to make decisions to reduce their emissions. Now the challenges are growing.

Finland has prepared for the fact that emissions from the so-called burden-sharing sector should be reduced by 47 per cent by 2030.

The Commission’s 50% proposal surprised Ollikainen at least. On the other hand, in the Commission’s presentations, emissions trading was low.

“Yes, that means a sweaty thing for the government.”

Although the Commission’s proposals may take up to two years to deal with, Ollikainen believes that the government should react to the targets already in the autumn budget debate.

In addition to transport and agricultural activities, oil heating in homes should be phased out quickly, he said.

Agriculture According to Ollikainen’s rapid calculations, emissions should be reduced by two million tonnes in ten years. The goal is tough. What should be done?

“While food choices matter, I’d say you can still move forward in peace.”

Instead, he would target decisions at a higher level, such as feed producers. Studies suggest that methane emissions from ruminants could be reduced by adding certain additives to feed.

“The best thing would be that all feed sold should contain components that reduce emissions by at least 10-12%.”

In addition, promoting the use of biogas would help to some extent. Significant reductions in nitrous oxide emissions would be achieved by transferring some peat fields to forestry.

Read more: In this way, the Commission’s climate proposals affect Finland’s own emission reduction targets, for example in agriculture and forestry

“Neither the earth nor the climate will forgive the calculation of emission reductions in the name of fairness.”

Due is that, even during the autumn budget debate, the fairness of climate action will be discussed again.

In Ollikainen’s opinion, there are ways to deal with fairness and climate goals cannot be weakened in its name.

“Neither the earth nor the climate forgives the calculation of emission reductions in the name of fairness. Fairness must be treated differently. ”

Commission the climate package also brought carbon sinks from land use and forests to the table.

The climate panel considers 21 million tonnes of sinks as the starting point for the carbon neutrality goal. The figure is based on the historical average of the years and takes into account the annual variation in deforestation.

The Commission’s proposal initially proposed an annual carbon sink level for Finland of around 17.8 million tonnes.

There have been public concerns that Finland’s carbon sinks would replace emissions from Central European countries. For many other countries, however, the sink targets were recorded much higher, for example 47 million tonnes for Sweden.

“On that side, Finland is surprisingly short. I would have preferred a slightly higher sink requirement and a slightly lower burden sharing target. ”

If looks at forests only from the point of view of climate and carbon sinks, the target of 21 million tonnes is not a threat to forest use, according to Ollikainen.

According to him, the forest sink could be quite small in computation if soil emissions from peat fields were controlled.

However, it is not just about the climate.

“For us, it’s summation. It is not a summation for diversity. ”

How much do we have to hope for in the climate crisis?

“Well hemputisti. After all, this situation has changed quite decisively, ”says Ollikainen.

Finland’s goal is to be carbon neutral by 2035. The climate panel believes the goal will be met even easily.

“The side where we have the biggest emissions is going exactly as it should.”

According to Ollikainen, the good progress is due to the energy production and technology industry. The change has been accelerated by EU emissions trading.

“The side where we have the biggest emissions is going exactly as it should.”

Pioneering also benefits the economy. Ollikainen praises that the competence of Finns is top-class, for example in energy efficiency and smart electricity grids.

Ollikaisen believes that the pace of change is unbridled on a global scale as well.

“The financial and technical opportunities are quite excellent at the moment. Well then there is that political will. The good thing is that it is finally growing. ”

The political will of the EU is clear to him, and in the United States it is again a clear president Joe Biden after selection.

A skilful foreign policy should involve the other major polluters in the world.

Hydrogen technology and the food revolution sound like futuristic things, but Ollikainen puts his hopes in them.

Hydrogen can be used to store energy and later use it as electricity or heat. It can also be used to make other products, such as electric fuels.

According to Ollikainen, it is generally thought that the hydrogen economy will reduce emissions by 90-95% worldwide.

About five percent of current emissions would be left out, which would be offset by increasing carbon sinks. A change in food production would help.

“By 2050, all of this should be run through.”

“I also believe that cell culture will solve the challenge of feeding a growing population.”

Food production by revolution Ollikainen refers to cell-cultured, bioreactor-grown plant- or animal-based proteins. Ollikainen believes that Finland could become a superpower here.

“After all, the hope of a globalist is that livestock farming, which has grown terribly in particular, can be run down and thereby free the land back to nature and fresh water for people. I also believe that cell culture will solve the challenge of feeding a growing population. ”

According to Ollikainen, visions are not hostile to traditional agriculture, even if its scale is reduced. Cell culture needs glucose, or sugar, from agriculture, and some people always want to use traditional agricultural products.

Markku Ollikainen

  • Born in 1952.

  • Chairman of the Finnish Climate Panel since 2014.

  • Professor Emeritus of Environmental Economics and Research Director at the University of Helsinki.

  • Doctor of Political Science.



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