The positive atmosphere leading up to Paris took on concrete form during the conference when, after long negotiations, 195 countries reached agreement on long-term climate goals.
Many believe that the key to reaching agreement was in the way the agreement was built from the bottom up such that individual countries were able to establish their own emissions reduction targets based on their particular situation. This procedure has not yet produced the total emissions reduction targets required for remaining within the warming limit set, but the direction set is nevertheless the correct one.
Government Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen summed up well the significant core of the agreement, stating that the important thing is to have all the world's economic and emissions-producing giants on board. The concrete work is, however, only just beginning, and emissions reduction should now get under way as quickly and comprehensively as possible in all parts of the world.
The European Union has already been working for a long time on emissions reduction, but equally the Union has needed to take care of the global competitiveness of its industry. It is difficult to operate on the global market if firms in competing countries are not subject to the same kind of environmental regulations and emissions-based expenditures as those in the EU.
Hopefully the situation will gradually start to change and the operating conditions faced by different businesses will globally become more equal. When this takes place, the EU's already energy efficient industries will be well positioned within global markets. It is likely, however, that the so-called "carbon leakage" precautionary measures aimed at EU industries will still be needed for decades to come.
The agreement signed just recently in Paris will benefit all countries. Of course the most significant benefit, and one which affects all people, is the reduction of climate change that will result when the agreement goals begin to be put into practice through concrete political decisions. This will have the concrete effect of gradually increasing global demand for clean energy and climate solutions.
Here in Finland there are many opportunities, so now is the time to be at the forefront in offering one's expertise, whether it relates to renewable energy, energy efficiency or the bioeconomy. Sophisticated biofuels will also no doubt be in high demand all over the world.
Finnish Petroleum and Biofuels Association