Brave and rapid changes necessary for carbon neutrality

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Mr Miguel Gallardo Linacero, an environmental and chemical engineer from Spain, has been comparing the Carbon Neutral Strategy of Helsinki-Uusimaa Region to four other regions in Northern Europe. All five strategies are among the best to be found within Europe. But is that really enough?

The comparison included the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, the City of Hamburg, the Stockholm County, the North Holland Province and the Capital Region of Denmark. All regions share two main challenges, which are the energy production and the traffic emissions. Miguel urges us to think really big here, and to actually change the entire systems we live in:

In the long run, cutting down emissions by improving the efficiency of the current energy production or transport system will not be enough. And there is no one else who can change them in the time needed than we ourselves.

But what kind of a strategy paper is strong enough to create such a change that is undoubtedly needed? Miguel began his research with the question “what is done”, but as the work continued, he soon realized he had to change the question into “how it can be done”, as it is so much more crucial:

The quality of a carbon neutral strategy truly makes a difference. It is so easy to write in big words, and then do almost nothing according to them. An effective carbon neutral strategy must have a public budget, along with a timeline, responsible stakeholders and follow up indicators well suited for the region in question, he describes.

Meeting for five regions in November

Inspired and driven by Miguel’s comparative research, the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region has invited all other regions to a meeting in Helsinki at the end of November.

The aim of this meeting is to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of all strategies and to learn good practices from other regions. We believe this will bring us one significant step closer to a more effective carbon neutral strategy.

Miguel’s work enabled by Climate KIC Programme

The Climate-KIC’s professional mobility programme Pioneers into Practice brought Miguel to Finland and to the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council.

Climate-KIC is an innovation network administered by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. The network promotes climate change mitigation and adaptation. The main aim is to create innovation partnerships that can be a meeting point for public administration, research, business and education.

Any aim can be reached better by sharing your expertise professionally. Operating in fifteen European locations, the programme Pioneers into Practice consists of a 4-6 week long international work placement, mentoring and a structured workshop programme.