"Time for agreement"
The President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, emphasises the need for politicians, businesses, non-governmental organisations and individual citizens to collaborate in response to the challenge of climate change. Halonen’s clear message for the Copenhagen climate summit is that this is the right time to come to an agreement with commitment from all parties.Politicians, businesses and non-governmental organisations today all share a strong desire and the will to participate. We have got the right ingredients together, so it’s now time to seal an agreement,” says President Tarja Halonen on the threshold of the Copenhagen climate conference. Halonen is reasonably optimistic with regard to the outcomes of the conference.
“Combating climate change is a vital issue for everyone. It’s not only a question for this generation, since all around the world we have to be aware of our responsibilities towards future generations. From a universal perspective the Earth is a unique and irreplaceable planet.”
Halonen stresses the need for everyone to commit themselves to shared goals. The wealthy and powerful western countries have a great duty to mitigate climate change, but the rapidly emerging economic giants of China, India, Brazil and South Africa must also pull their weight. If a handful of key countries remain on the outside, the agreement as a whole will be watered down.
“I think the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 is an extremely good start. We’re now starting to hear similar promises from others. During my state visit to Russia this August, President Medvedev informed me that they had set a target for emission reductions of 15 percent.”
Getting everyone involved
President Halonen stresses the need for politicians, businesses and individuals to work together seamlessly to solve problems. Everyone's input is needed, since a problem that affects the whole of humanity cannot simply be delegated for others to solve. The politicians have to make climate change mitigation a crucial and credible theme, to encourage people to start acting. A wake-up call is needed to ensure that everyone becomes aware of this serious problem.
Halonen sees the situation in Finland, the Nordic region and the wider EU as promising, since people of all ages have become personally concerned about climate issues, and in their everyday lives they are making important choices for the future.
"One major challenge is to spread this know-how and willingness to act. I feel it's particularly important that women in developing countries get enough information, confidence in their own opportunities for action, and real involvement decision-making processes."
By Hasse Härkönen
Photo Kreetta Järvenpää