Finland pushes for CO2 neutrality

Kimmo Tiilikainen (R)

Finland wants the EU to agree to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050, Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen said on Monday as the Union's ministers met to discuss a climate protection plan. Finland, which will take over the EU's rotating presidency in the second half of 2019, has called for leadership in combating climate change after US President Donald Trump decided to pull out of the global Paris deal.

“The EU must align our climate and energy policy according to the 1.5 degree target. That means that the EU must achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” Tiilikainen told reporters. “Finland is prepared to take this work forward during our presidency and we are aiming to reach the Council conclusions during that time.”

The idea is backed by countries like Sweden, France and the Netherlands but opposed by other EU states, including Germany and Poland, which want to protect high-employment industries like car manufacturing and coal mining. EU national leaders will discuss the issue later this month at a summit in Brussels.

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