Last week, Barack Obama announced some of the most significant steps a US President has taken to tackle climate change so far. Then China made its own move, pledging an absolute cap on emissions for the first time ever.
Both plans send an important signal to the markets about the direction that energy and climate regulation are headed and, as such, have a significance that reaches way beyond the actual emissions cuts being presented. Yet critics have argued that neither plan does enough, fast enough, to really put a dent in climate change.
Enter Finland.This small Nordic nation (disclosure: I am half Finnish and immensely biased about this beautiful country) may not represent one of the largest carbon emitters in the world, but its latest commitment: a pledge to cut CO2 emissions 80% by 2050 is immensely important nonetheless.
As reported by Business Green, there are several reasons why this development should be watched closely:
1) The pledge is legally binding.
2) Its 80% target is about as close as we've seen to what science suggests is required to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
3) It requires ongoing reporting, mandating mid-term climate plans from successive governments and yearly climate adaptation reporting too.
4) It is wildly popular: recent polling suggests 80% of the population support these measures.
Apparently modeled on the UK's world-leading emissions reduction plans, this really is a major step in the right direction.
I look forward to other countries following Finland's example. Hyvä Suomi.