Swedish Finance Minister, Magdalena Andersson, says the world must start to listen to the younger generation in the fight against climate change, adding that Finance Ministers the world over have a critical role to play.
She was speaking during a conference on carbon pricing and aviation taxes at the Hague in Netherlands.
The aim of the conference, according to organisers, is to provide an opportunity for further discussions on the key issues on the key issues on climate.
Political representatives and experts from several European countries are in attendance together with experts from the European Commission.
The Swedish finance minister said ignoring effects of climate change will come at a cost.
“All the damage from last summer has cost the Swedish government over two hundred million euros to relieve local government and to forest owners for increased costs and to farmers for increased costs and to farmers for increased costs and income losses. Money we could have spent on health care education,” she said.
“As you may know, summer tourists in Sweden are generally spending their vacation budget on coats and umbrellas. But last summer, we were suddenly experiencing the warmest summer since measurements started 260 years ago. Only kilometres from where I live, woodland caught fire and burnt down as my neighbours and I were standing on the cliffs watching the skilled Italian firefighter planes from EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism. The drought continued throughout the whole summer and led to the most widely-spread forest fires in modern times.”
She proposed taxation that she said would create a win-win situation.
“Particularly interesting is environmental taxation. Such taxation can serve multiple purposes; it raises revenue for climate investments and at the same time changes behaviour. Market externalities are priced better. A win-win situation.”
She said the world must listen to young voices on issues to do with climate change.
“Greta Thunberg, our Swedish 16 year-old climate change activist, has grasped what very many of us adults have not. She calls climate change an “existential crisis” and is urging us to listen to the scientists.”
“When the young generation is urging leaders of the world to stop ignoring facts, what could be more important?”
She said taxing emissions from international aviation cannot be achieved “unless we do it together.”