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A hearing held at the Finnish Parliament on soil solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation

Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and the Committee on the Environment held 1.10. a joint public hearing on agricultural land as a solution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Among the speakers were Jean-François Soussana, one of the leading authors of the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) Land use -report (INRA, the French National Institute of Agricultural Research) as well as Finnish researchers active in the Carbon Action and stn MULTA projects.

A recent report by the IPCC on land use, states that land use has a major role to play in climate change: if we are to stay at the 2 degree target, we need to increase carbon sinks along with reducing emissions. Issues related to soil carbon storage and growth conditions have also been raised in the Finnish Government Program and were also the main topic of the informal meeting of EU Agriculture Ministers in Helsinki on 22-24 September 2019, during the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

As a result, the public hearing at the Parliament 1.10.  draw a full hall of interested people, and the conversation was lively.

Soussana stated, among other things, that the carbon storage potential of soils is the easiest and most cost-effective way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. He emphasized that food production should not suffer from soil carbon sequestration, but vice versa, as good soil condition improves resilience to extreme weather conditions.

Top researchers from the Finnish Carbon Action platform and the stn MULTA project were also heard: Research Professor Jari Liski from the Finnish Meteorological Institute, Professor Kristiina Regina from the Finnish Natural Resources Institute and Tuomas Mattila from the Finnish Environment Institute.

Jean-François Soussana met with some of the Carbon Action project crew at his visit to Finland

Jari Liski introduced the development of a carbon sequestration verification system. Kristiina Regina crystallized the problem of the peat land emissions, which now account for over 50% of total climate emissions in Finnish Agriculture. Regina posed a challenge to politicians: the clearing of peat lands should be stopped, and part of the area should be directly dedicated to emission reductions. Tuomas Mattila talked about the practical methods of carbon farming on a hundred Finnish farms, already involved in the stn MULTA project through Carbon Action.

Jean-Francois Soussana is also a partner in the Stn MULTA project funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland, and was surprised at how far the topic has already progressed.

I´m really impressed by how quickly you have developed the Carbon Action platform. And you have done it very pragmatic way, linking farmers and scientist into a living lab where you work together and learn from each other.  This is something we would like to promote in other countries” Soussana said after attending the events organized during Finland’s EU Presidency. It was agreed with Soussana for Carbon Action to intensify cooperation with for example the 4/1000 initiative and the EU project Circasa.

The minutes and the appendices of the public hearing of the Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and the Committee on the Environment, can be found here. 

The webcast of the event can be found here.

The hearing was a side event of the Finnish EU Presidency. The event was organized jointly by Parliament and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and BSAG. The event was organized in cooperation with the EDSCE2019 Circular Economy Days.

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