A group of researchers questions the Kyoto Protocol

According to Atte Korhola, Professor at the Environmental Change Research Unit at the University of Helsinki, a climate policy based on binding emission objectives has come to the end of the line.

coal-fired power plant

"The system is ineffective and often leads to results that are contrary to those intended," says Korhola.

"Dependence on carbon has only increased, while climate protection has been contributed to. This means that an increasing amount of carbon is used for the same production volumes."

Korhola has been involved in the preparation of the "How to get climate policy back on course" statement which demands that the mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol are replaced by more effective measures.

The statement was originally written as an instruction for the G8 Summit in July. The statement is backed by eleven climate change and climate policy researchers around the world and MEP Eija-Riitta Korhola, who is preparing a doctoral thesis on the subject.

As an alternative, the group of researchers suggest straightforward action to decrease the carbon footprint and to make technological investments. Otherwise, emissions will only move from place to place through climate policy loopholes.

It would be particularly important to centralise the reductions to industries that pollute a great deal, such as the steel and concrete industries.

However, Korhola does not consider it sensible that there is short-term competition between different sectors for committing to the strictest reductions. The time for symbolic solutions is over.

"The most essential thing is to make industrial processes more effective, improve the quality of air and to plant new forests to act as carbon sinks," she says.

Moreover, resources should be used to prepare society for the future temperature increase of a few degrees.

A long-term objective would be to develop new forms of energy that are independent of fossil energy.

"A large part of this would be to allocate the global energy consumption more and more with electricity. The situation also requires courageous investments in new technologies, such as direct solar energy, hydrogen and fusion energy."

Text: Juha Merimaa
Photo: Mikko Arvinen

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy

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