One of the measures presented by Sitra include replacing dairy products with plant-based options. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

In order to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, Finns need to, according to a report published by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, change their lifestyle radically.

The measures include increasing the consumption of vegan food and leaving the car at home after business hours.

For some members of the parliament, this tightening of climate policies is pure poppycock. Finland Today has received statements by representatives of the Finns Party and the Centre Party, calling the measures presented by Sitra as “red-green intimidation” and “a big joke.”

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But before we get into that, let’s have a closer look at what Sitra suggests.

The carbon footprint per capita in Finland needs to be reduced by up to 93 percent by 2050, according to the modeling report.

The reduction in Finland should already be as much as around 75 percent during the next decade. In developing countries such as India, Brazil and China, the reduction also needs to be great: between 23 and 84 percent by 2050.

The report examines different alternatives for closing what Sitra calls a “huge lifestyle gap.”

“There is a huge gap between our current lifestyles and the lifestyles that are in line with the Paris Agreement,” said Markus Terho, the project director of Sitra’s Sustainable Everyday Life project, in a statement. “The 1.5 °C lifestyle necessitates changes in our everyday habits at home, work and leisure.”

Here are some of the choices presented by Sitra to reduce carbon footprints: replacing private cars with public transport or electric bikes for workplace commuting and for travelling to leisure activities; introducing more electric and hybrid cars; moving into a smaller apartment; producing heat energy and electricity from renewable energy sources; preferring plant-based and vegan diets; replacing dairy products with plant-based options; and replacing red meat with chicken or fish.

According to Sitra, the circular economy is the key to change: the emphasis will shift from constantly producing new goods to consumption that is based on using services and sharing, lending and recycling goods instead of owning them.

 “Finnish companies are beginning to understand that succeeding in the 1.5 °C world requires a new kind of business logic,” said Kari Herlevi, the project director of Sitra’s circular economy project.

The parliamentary group of the Finns Party calls the report “incomprehensible self-whipping.” “The Finnish welfare society is cracking from its foundation as it is. We can’t seriously start hurting our competitiveness with new one-sided measures,” said MP Jani Mäkelä, who is the vice-chairperson of the Finns’ parliamentary group.

It was Mäkelä who called the report as “red-green propaganda, which isn’t based on facts.” “Finland’s share of world’s carbon dioxide emissions is a little more than a per mil.”

Instead, according to the Finns Party, climate actions should be taken there where the largest source is. “The Finns Party has suggested a carbon tariff for products that are manufactured in the world’s most polluting country China.”

Mikko Kärnä, member of the parliament at the Centre Party, called Sitra’s report a “big joke.” “When considering one’s diet, the report is not taking into account, for example, the carbon sequestration in grassland farming, carbon-neutral game or that when producing milk, the aim is to be carbon neutral.”

What do you think?