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Finnish environment minister, experts: Climate deal to boost cleantech industry

The Paris Agreement could create tens of thousands of jobs in Finland, say Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen and analysts of the burgeoning cleantech sector.

Kimmo Tiilikainen
Environment Minister Tiilikainen at the COP21 meeting in Paris. Image: Juha Nurminen

Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen, who led the Finnish delegation at the COP21 Paris climate conference, has described this weekend’s Paris Agreement as "pivotal". He told Yle on Monday that biggest significance of the deal for Finns will be that responsibility for combating climate change will now be shared more evenly among various countries.

"We can breathe a sigh of relief because the rest of the world is now joining in on this. This is not just the EU’s hobby that brings costs, but now rather the opening of opportunities," the Centre Party politician said in a TV interview.

He pointed out that Finland boasts the kinds of cleantech companies that are now in demand.

Thousands of jobs to come?

The Paris Agreement could create tens of thousands of jobs in Finland, say experts such as Markku Ollikainen, Professor of Environmental Economics at the University of Helsinki.

Most of these are expected to be in the industrial sector and the first of those, a couple of thousand, are likely to be created in cleantech companies producing bio-fuels or other products based on bio-technologies.

Ollikainen predicts that Finland's competitive position will improve. He foresees a turn-around in exports, saying that it is "rock solid" that the Paris Agreement will create demand for cleantech products.

EU climate agreements have already focused attention on cleaner technologies. China and other low-wage competitors will see costs rise as they push to catch up. Being already well advanced, Finnish companies are well placed to compete in a new kind of global market.

Industrial leaders are also confident that the deal will create demand and jobs.

They see Finland as having a head start in essential sustainable technologies.

"Markets practically limitless"

"The markets that are opening up are practically limitless and the growth coefficients are amazing," says Tiina Kähö, who leads the Carbon-neutral Industry section at the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. "Now it’s important for corporations and the state to work together. Soon there will be a tough race on the world markets."

Jouni Keronen, CEO of Finland’s Climate Leadership Council, says that Finland has a lot of cleantech know-how and technology, but that it must make more effective use of new inventions. "

Finnish firms "can take advantage of new markets by offering solutions early on," says Keronen.

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