Ms Anu Vehviläinen, Finland’s Minister of Transport, called for action to reduce climate impacts of transport as she opened the International Transport Forum in Leipzig, Germany, on 29 May. The theme of the Forum 2008 is Transport and Energy: The Challenge of Climate Change.
“Transport-related emissions are increasing worldwide. The sector must recognise its responsibility and aim at introducing transport policy whose one central objective is to curb climate change”, she said. She also referred to a recently adopted Finnish Government transport policy report which outlines climate change as one of the most significant challenges in the field of transport policy.
“In the long run, vehicle technology and alternative fuels help decrease transport-related emissions. However, many short-term measures are needed too. We have to take local, regional and global action”, Vehviläinen said.
According to Minister Vehviläinen, decreasing greenhouse gas emissions requires close cooperation between administrative sectors, particularly in taxation, environment, energy, land use and transport policies. “We must follow a uniform and coherent policy at all levels. Combating climate change also calls for attitude adjustment and changes in operating methods”, Vehviläinen pointed out.
She also underlined that a forum of 51 member countries offers an excellent, new global arena for transport policy discussions.
“The theme of the first meeting further stresses the importance of the new organisation when pursuing shared transport policy guidelines for curbing climate change”, Vehviläinen said. She hopes that countries such as China, India and Brazil, which have a considerable impact on climate, join the Forum soon.
Finland is the first country to preside over the International Transport Forum, a meeting place of political decision-makers, business, industry and research. Transport ministers from more than 30 countries around the world meet in Leipzig. At the end of the meeting the ministers will convey their key messages for curbing climate change in the transport sector.
Mr Juhani Tervala, Director-General of the Transport Policy Department, tel. +358 050 552 7260 (at the venue in Leipzig)
Ms Minna Kivimäki, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 40 532 5657 (at the venue in Leipzig)