Our new government’s priorities are to get the economy in order and kickstart economic growth. That is why it seemed strange that the pre-election debates this spring featured no serious discussion of Finland’s actions to address the climate crisis and biodiversity loss.
“Unbelievable short-sightedness,” I thought to myself.
The biggest challenge is that the actions required to mitigate the climate crisis and halt biodiversity loss are considered beyond the scope of serious economic debate.
This is despite the fact that strengthening nature and stopping the climate crisis are known to be the foundation for a sustainable economy. There is no point in building on flimsy foundations. The whole economy is directly or indirectly dependent on nature.
It is also well known that an enormous global market has emerged around the solutions to these problems – one that will be measured in the hundreds of trillions of euros in the coming decades.
The new government should take climate and nature action deadly seriously.
The new government should take climate and nature action deadly seriously, especially since it aims to get Finland’s economy in order.
The state should create an environment where these problems can mainly be resolved on market terms. It should also recognise that the climate crisis and biodiversity loss go hand in hand and are mutually reinforcing. Luckily, they can, to a large extent, be resolved simultaneously.
Actions to strengthen biodiversity, such as sustainable forest management or regenerative agriculture, are effective climate actions. However, some climate actions, such as renewable energy, with all the metals and building area it requires, may cause localised biodiversity loss.
The synergies of climate and nature action and the necessary compromises must be taken into account in the government’s programme, national strategies, regulations, and local actions.
This gives the economy a direct boost. When two major problems are resolved together, it leads to better cost-effectiveness, and well-intentioned actions will not drive the country from one crisis straight into another one.
Scientists have a thorough understanding of the inextricable link between biodiversity loss and the climate crisis. The government must now take the science seriously and take action.
I am not trying to claim that the action required will be easy. But it is clear that economic growth will be much more difficult to build without a robust foundation.
Mari Pantsar is an adjunct professor and a partner at Kari & Pantsar Co. She is also a defender of a sustainable planet and has worked in cleantech business development for over 20 years.