Yle is reviewing the climate change statements of activists, politicians and stakeholders

Yle is reviewing the climate change statements of activists, politicians and stakeholders

False news is spreading rapidly and opinions about the climate crisis are often dominated by fact-based statements, so fact-checking can be a useful tool both in educating the general public and in monitoring public figures.

Yle has therefore factually reviewed a number of statements on climate change made by politicians, activists, pressure groups and other organizations.

Each of the statements examined has been evaluated as either true, false, or intermediate (i.e., it was not entirely true or false) and an explanation has been provided for each classification.

Only allegations containing verifiable information were eligible to verify the facts.

The debate on climate policy has become increasingly prominent among political presentations. When the provincial elections are just around the corner, it’s worth checking out Yle’s really simple guide to Finland’s 2022 county elections and keeping an eye on the upcoming election compass, which will soon be available in English.

Thunberg: The Paris Agreement is a matter of speech and not deed

Opinion: "The harsh truth is that they have basically done nothing but talk, discuss, and set vague, distant goals for the future and goals for the years to come." climate activist Greta Thunberg said in a video he posted on Instagram September 22.

Rating: Wrong.

Explanation: The agreement has seen countries take some steps to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the same time, the implementation of policies is largely deficient, as the Gambia is so far the only country to have fully achieved the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

According to analyst and pressure group Climate Action Tracker, global warming forecasts show a slower increase in the average global temperature, from +2.7 degrees Celsius to +2.4 degrees by the end of the century.

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg.Robert Perry / EPA

Nevertheless, the watchdog’s latest report reveal it "although with all the new Glasgow promises for 2030, by 2030 we will achieve about twice as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius is required." adding it "all governments need to rethink their goals."

Bite: Climate policy weighs on Finns’ wallets

Opinion: "In Finnish climate policy, rising gas and living costs, food costs, costs of other types of business trips, business and manufacturing costs," Director of Basic Finns, Riikka Purra, said in a statement issued on 12 October.

Estimate: in between, neither completely true nor false.

Explanation: Prices are unlikely to rise directly as a result of the government’s climate policy, Marita Laukkanen VATT’s Economic Research Institute told Yle.

Driving costs are expected to rise in the short term, but only marginally, and housing and heating costs will rise mainly for Helsinki residents, Laukkanen added.

There is no evidence to show a link between rising food prices and climate action. Similarly, the impact of climate policy on other modes of transport is unclear. For entrepreneurs, the government is trying to balance the costs of climate policy with various compensations, such as lowering the electricity tax to the minimum allowed by EU regulations.

Squid: Carbon sequestration alone does not justify a ban on clear-cutting

Opinion: "From the point of view of wood production or carbon sequestration, there are insufficient grounds for prohibiting deforestation," Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Forestry Anne Kalmari (Cen) said in plenary discourse on 14 November.

Rating: True.

Explanation: According to the professor of forestry Heli Peltola, clear – cutting and continuous forest growth have the same potential to sequester and store atmospheric carbon dioxide, known as carbon sequestration.

While Kalmar’s statement only concerns carbon sequestration, according to a professor at the University of Eastern Finland, the function of forests as carbon sinks, which refers to the amount of carbon already stored in forests, is much more important in the debate.

A young, growing forest typically accumulates more carbon than an old forest, but the carbon stock of old forests can be significantly higher than that of young forests. When the growth of trees binds more carbon than is harvested and rot is released, the forest becomes a carbon sink. According to Peltola, the carbon sequestration of the young forest is low and carbon is released from the soil immediately after clear-cutting.

However, it is reabsorbed after 10 to 15 years, when the forest becomes a carbon sink again.

More important for the environment, however, is how much carbon is already stored in the forests. According to a researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute Sampo SoimakallioThe less forest is felled, the more carbon is accumulated and stored in it. The researcher added that due to the way trees are felled in Finland, most of the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere, which means that the trees’ carbon sink function is lost.

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Deforestation in the DRC in October 2020. In addition to the climate impact, expanding deforestation increases the risk of infecting people with dangerous diseases.
Felling forest in the DRC in 2020. In addition to its adverse environmental effects, increasing deforestation increases the risk of exposure to infectious diseases.Hugh Kinsella Cunningham / Pulitzer Center / EPA

Living Rebellion: Switching to a “greener” way of consuming is not enough

Opinion: "If we want to avoid a climate catastrophe, “green growth” is not a realistic option. It is not enough for us to change our consumption patterns, we need to start consuming less," the Finnish branch of the global environmental group Extinction Rebellion Elokapina) wrote on Instagram send done on October 7.

Estimate: in between, neither completely true nor false.

Explanation: The explanation behind this argument is closely related to the global inequality between economically developed and less developed countries. The planet is unlikely to withstand a world that embraces the same consumption as developed countries everywhere, regardless of whether consumption becomes “greener.”

Expert of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) Jyri Seppälä says that the transition to a circular economy, ie reusing resources and goods as much as possible, is indeed a major goal. At the same time, however, the recycling of natural resources takes a lot of energy and that is why the big question at the moment is whether, according to the risk analyst, we have enough time to switch to zero-emission energy production.

Seppälä says that Elokapina’s claim is largely true, but he disagrees that more sustainable consumption would not be a good thing, and adds that supporting companies and services that promote the transition to low-emission is better than dropping consumption altogether.

HS: The civil disobedience of the rebellion can do more harm than good

Opinion: "The methods chosen by the rebellion do not necessarily inspire the desired change, but rather give rise to new divisions in society, which could benefit from counter-movements in the climate," Finland’s largest circulation magazine Helsingin Sanomat wrote on September 28th.

Rating: Wrong.

Explanation: Studies show that climate protests are an effective tool in shaping the attitudes of both citizens and decision-makers towards climate change. The scientific community widely believes that activism is an effective way to combat climate change, says Finnish researcher Janne M. Korhonen, adding that activism has had a statistical correlation with reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

American study performed by someone Janet Swim and the task force after the 2017 U.S. climate protests continued to show that activism does not necessarily increase the polarization of society, but rather reduces dichotomy and gives people hope for resolving the climate crisis.

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Persons dressed in full red, performing a performance ..
Performers of Elokapina, filmed in February 2021Toni Määttä / General

Ridge: Focusing on energy efficiency is at the expense of moving to low carbon

Opinion: "While energy efficiency is an important means of combating climate change, it should not be overemphasised or over-reliant. At worst, focusing on energy efficiency could hamper efforts to switch to lower-carbon energy methods." Green MP Atte Harjanne said on October 18.

Estimate: in between, neither completely true nor false.

Explanation: According to VTT’s chief researcher, energy efficiency plays a really big role in mitigating climate change Antti Arasto. At the same time, increasing energy efficiency will hardly ever lead to zero emissions, so fossil fuels must also be phased out. However, paying attention to improving the use of both high-carbon and low-carbon energy does not prevent the transition to low-carbon energy.

Source: The Nordic Page

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