Concrete measures for the government.
Finland must immediately launch a major ecological reconstruction effort to bring our society within planetary boundaries. Until a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and environmental action is established, Elokapina calls on the government to start the reconstruction with the following measures.
Consumption-based emissions must be included in Finland’s emission reduction targets.
Our emissions are in fact one third higher than reported (1, 2). This means that the total climate emissions caused by Finns have not yet decreased. It is not just, that the emission reduction targets do not take into account the production emissions of imported goods consumed in Finland, but that we outsource them instead. Therefore, the government must amend the Climate Law to include consumption-based emissions1 in the emission reduction targets.
All subsidies harmful to environment must be ended.
The Finnish state subsidises environmental and climate destruction by billions of euros every year (3, 4, 5). The government must end all corporate subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuel-based businesses. At the same time, new investments in fossil fuels on Finnish soil and by Finnish state-owned companies must be prohibited by law. The government must transfer money from harmfull subsidies to fund climate action and nature conservation.
The disproportionate climate emissions of the rich must be addressed.
The wealthiest are responsible for a disproportionate share of total emissions, both in Finland and globally (6, 7, 8, 9). The government must ban short-distance commercial flights in Finland, impose a progressive flight tax on frequent flyers and ban private jets and combustion engine luxury yachts. In addition, the government must impose a stronger emissions tax and a nature-harming fee, combined with just redistribution, such as a carbon dividend.
The loss of nature must be stopped and carbon sinks must be increased.
Intensive forestry, excessive logging and insufficient protection are the main causes of biodiversity loss in Finland. Only 3% of Finland’s forest area is still in a natural state. The state must immediately protect all remaining natural forests and 30% of Finland’s surface area.2 The protection measures must be carried out in a way that respects the Saami people’s right to self-determination and takes into account natural livelihoods. The government must update the current Forest Law to such that logging volumes are limited to sustainable levels in every province, and the carbon sink and carbon storage of Finnish land use are permanently increased.3 In addition, Finland must criminalise the mass destruction of nature (ecocide).
Ecologically and ethically unsustainable animal production must be run down.
The current food system which prioritises animal production is destructive to climate, environment, humans and other animals. In Finland, animal production uses more than 70% of agricultural land, produces (fodder production included) about 10 Gt/year of climate emissions (10, 11), accounts for half of the nutrient discharges into waterways and kills 82 million animals every year. The government must set a target for a radical reduction in animal production. Finland must move towards a sustainable plant-based food production system. Subsidies for intensive livestock production must be re-targeted at plant-based food production, and all public food procurement must be made principally plant-based.
Overconsumption of natural resources must be ended.
If everyone consumed like Finns, the planet’s resources would be exceeded three and a half times. To stop overconsumption, Finland needs to cut its use of natural resources by 70% from current levels (12, 13). To achieve this, the government must gear down non-essential4 industrial sectors and limit advertising that encourages overconsumption while growing sustainable sectors such as care work. New guiding indicators for public economy must be defined to bring Finnish society within planetary boundaries.
A more meaningful life and sustainable work for all.
Finland has seen huge growth in production and consumption, but no real progress in the conditions for a good life has been made since the 1980s (14, 15). Instead, economic inequality has increased significantly. We need to abandon the constant acceleration of material flows and create a growth-agnostic society, where over-consumption and pollutive action won’t be missed. The government should direct labour5 to jobs of particular ecological and social value, such as care, education, repair, recycling, culture, sustainable farming, ecosystem restoration as well as wind, solar and hydrogen energy. Workers and primary producers in fast-shrinking sectors should be provided with the necessary financial and social support and retraining opportunities.
Consumption-based emissions differ from the production-based emissions (i.e. those produced or generated within Finland) used as the basis for the current emission reduction targets, as they include emissions from the production chains of imported products abroad. At the same time, emissions from the production chains of domestic exports are deducted from the emissions. ↩
Today approximately 10% of Finland’s surface area is protected. Further protection must be carried out equally in each province, so that the protection network covers the whole of Finland and is representative of the different habitat types. ↩
As Finland and all other countries must become carbon negative societies after reaching carbon neutrality, we need to maximise carbon sinks and carbon stocks. Achieving carbon negativity is essential for humanity to maintain a viable planet. Only by becoming carbon negative can atmospheric CO2 levels and average temperatures be brought down and the damage caused be even partially reversed. ↩
Non-essential refers to all such industrial production and commercial activities that do not directly contribute to meeting the basic material, social and health needs of society or to maintaining security and critical supplies. As Finland and other industrialised countries have to make do with less energy and material consumption that now, practices for prioritising and rationing raw materials need to be established. Business regulation needs to be updated to allow business to flourish within this framework and to generate public good and eco-social value. ↩
One way to do this is through a public job guarantee. Under the job guarantee, the state aims to provide a job for everyone who wants one, at a wage that is effectively the minimum wage on the market. These jobs are ecologically and socially beneficial and offer meaningful working conditions, but do not require extensive training. The jobs are financed by the state, but can be organised at local level, for example in municipalities or provinces. In Finland there is people who are involuntarily unemployed, and at the same time many jobs that are necessary but cannot be done. The job guarantee provides security and also reinforces the idea that not any job needs to be accepted regardless of their content and outcome, as there would always be jobs available that help build a sustainable society. ↩