Energy efficiency in the Baltic Sea Region was the highly topical theme for a joint BSPC-CBSS-BASREC seminar hosted by the Finnish Parliament in Helsinki 4 March.
The seminar was initiated by the CBSS Finnish Presidency 2013-2014. One of its core priorities is the follow-up of the recommendations of the BSPC Working Group on Green Growth and Energy Efficiency.
Christina Gestrin, member of the Finnish Parliament and BSPC, underlined in her opening remarks that “no one dealing with politics and social development can or should avoid discussions about energy resources, energy efficiency and climate change. It is obvious that a sustainable future energy provision in a situation of serious climate change calls for strengthened cooperation and joint international efforts.” Stressing that “the Baltic Sea Region should strive to become a leader in the field of energy efficiency“, she cautioned that “the financial crisis is not an acceptable excuse to postpone measures to combat climate change. That would only mean that the costs for managing the effects of climate change will increase in the long run.”
The Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Erkki Tuomioja, commended the interaction between CBSS and BSPC, and recognized the recommendations of the WG as important political levers to promote energy efficiency, not least on the local and regional level.
Cecilie Tenfjord-Toftby, member of the Swedish Parliament and Chair of the Working Group, recapitulated the recommendations of the WG. “We are around 85 million people in the Baltic Sea catchment area“, she noted. “Together, we can become a very important player in the field of Green Growth and Energy Efficiency. We have the potential to transform our conventional economy to a green one, in which production and consumption is carried out in an environmentally sustainable manner.” Pointing out the gains to be made by energy efficiency measures, she asserted that “a successful implementation of green growth will boost economic performance, create many new opportunities for businesses around the Baltic Sea, increase security in the supply of essential resources, and support the efforts to curb dangerous climate change”. She concluded by noting that “we are moving in the right direction, but we need to do it at a higher speed in order to avoid serious environmental consequences which will eventually hurt our economies and our well-being. Stringent and persistent policies and actions are needed to realize the potential for sustainable and competitive green economies.”