Sipilä praises government’s bioeconomy strategy

Opposition leader Juha Sipilä on Monday chided the main government party, the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) for its slow awakening to the opportunities provided by an economic model based on forest products, cleantech and sustainability.

Keskustan puheenjohtaja Juha Sipilä. Image: Yle

“It’s excellent that even the NCP has finally noticed the opportunities of the bioeconomy now, nine months before the next elections,” Centre Party chair Juha Sipilä wrote, perhaps sarcastically, in his blog on Monday.

Sipilä was referring to an Yle report on Sunday saying that the NCP was pushing strongly on behalf of the bioeconomy strategy unveiled by the government last spring. Its targets include the creation of 100,000 new jobs by the year 2025.

The decision-in-principle approved by the government in early May aims to increase the yield of the bioeconomy from the present 60 billion euros to 100 billion euros.

According to a government statement, "The goal is to create new economic growth and jobs through growth in business, and high value-added products and services, while securing the viability of natural ecosystems. The bioeconomy refers to economic activities which use renewable natural resources in a sustainable manner for the production of bio-based products, nutrition, energy and services."

Is peat burning sustainable?

Sipilä says that the Centre has often called for more action on advancing the bioeconomy and more cooperation on it between the government and opposition, but without any response.

“On the contrary, government policy has led to an increase in the use of coal and a decrease in the use of domestic biofuels,” Sipilä charges.
The latter claim includes peat, which is technically a renewable biofuel – but one that can take thousands of years to regenerate.

Sipilä urges the government to reconsider taxation on peat. He argues this would boost the status of woodchips and accelerate investment into domestic biofuels.