Interview: Finland’s ambassador sees understanding of climate change as top concern in Arctic

XINHUANET published an article online titled, “Interview: Finland’s ambassador sees understanding of climate change as top concern in Arctic.” The article reads in part as follows;

“While the vision of accelerated development in the Arctic region is close at hand, Finland’s Arctic ambassador Aleksi Harkonen said Monday the biggest challenges concerning the international cooperation on Arctic issues were related to the climate change.

In an interview with Xinhua, he described the challenge was in “how to make the Arctic perspectives better known in the global efforts to mitigate climate change, how to help the Arctic inhabitants adapt to the expected changes, and how to make the Arctic communities more resilient to meet the challenges posed by the warming climate”.

Climate change is a global issue, but it is most greatly felt in the Arctic, noted Harkonen. For example, the excessive emissions originating from the rest of the world not only cause local pollution, but also cause atmospheric pollution in the Arctic region when the black carbon falls on snow and ice, accelerating melting, and absorbing sunlight, therefore, warming the climate, he elaborated.

Finland took over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council from the United States as of May 2017, and has adopted two issues as its main tasks: the first is climate change, and the other is sustainable development, said Harkonen.

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During the two-year term that Finland is chairing the Arctic Council, the Nordic country wants to harmonize the policies of the Arctic countries with the Paris Agreement reached among the international community two years ago.

The agreement has amounted to a guidebook, and the guidebook is most appreciated in the Arctic as climate change has affected this region in particular.

Harkonen recalled the happy moment when the government led by former U.S. president Barack Obama made efforts to encourage Arctic countries to contribute to the action against climate change, but worried about Washington withdrawing from the Paris agreement and causing a deficit in funding climate policies.”

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