The following piece is by Satu Pitkänen, one of our press officers in Finland
I realised it's time to wake up and smell the upcoming EU election. Despite the fact that many of the decisions that affect my everyday life are done locally, inside my country, some of the most significant political processes have to be done internationally. Take climate change for example. It is nothing a single person or a single country can do much about. We need to be in on it together.
That's why I had to stop yesterday, rub my eyes and read again. "Our enlarging carbon footprint is only a sign of the welfare we have created for ourselves", said Mr Ari Vatanen, a Finnish world rally champion and now member of EU parliament (as a French resident, and part of a conservative French political party) and a candidate for the next term from Finland. He went on: "Warmth is a good thing, cold is a bad thing. When it's cold one can die of a flu. Welfare has always meant that it gets warmer." Yes, really. It does sound like an argument from kindergarten!
I'm sure most of us understand the basics of science and know it's perfectly possible to study long term temperature and climate changes. And I'm sure most of us - even the sceptics - have now accepted the fact that we are influencing the climate. But not Ari: "It's absurd that a person would know how the climate changes. Nobody knows what the weather is going to be like next Saturday. Warm periods have come and gone during history."
If the EU is to maintain its position as the climate leader of the world, we have to make sure we elect the right people to the parliament. Politicians who have earned their votes simply by driving a fast car should not to be allowed to undermine the promising path of diminishing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing down climate change. We need parliamentarians with vision, not populist ideas of bringing a sports car to everyone's garage without exhausting any natural resources.