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Scientists from the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters provide advice to European policy makers | 04.05.15


Helsinki is hosting a meeting of experts from the Energy programme of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) this week, to discuss priorities for providing advice to policy makers in the European Commission and the European Parliament.  Big changes are taking place in Europe’s energy sector at the same time as there is a new Commission in Brussels and a lot of new Members in the European Parliament, so independent scientific advice and evidence for policy making is certainly needed.  EASAC’s energy steering panel is chaired by Prof Peter Lund from Aalto University, who plays a key role in guiding the work, and in reviewing it to ensure the highest possible quality.   

At this week’s meeting are energy experts from 10 EU Member States who, in addition to planning how to guide EU policy makers in their work on energy policies for 2020 and 2030, will be reviewing the progress of work on two major on-going EASAC projects. The first project, which is being led by Prof Jaana Back from Helsinki University on behalf of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, is focused on the sustainability of forests.  This project will produce independent evidence for EU policy makers on the changing demands on Europe’s forests from the energy sector (bioenergy), from industry and from civil society in the face of growing pressures resulting from climate change and from the loss of biodiversity.  The second on-going project under discussion will provide objective evidence and up to date information for EU policy makers on the potential for electricity storage in Europe’s increasingly integrated electricity grid systems and, based on experience from around the world, on how best to legislate for its introduction.  

Taking advantage of the presence of these international experts in Helsinki, the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters hosted a public seminar on Monday 4 May so that Finnish experts from the Academy and from local Universities and institutes could hear more about what EASAC is doing and could bring forward their own ideas on emerging energy issues. The meeting, which lasted more than 2 hours was extremely lively, and highlighted not only the important work being done by Finnish experts on sustainable energy issues, but also many of the challenges which are being faced in the sustainable energy sector across the EU.  In his closing remarks, the representative from EASAC warmly thanked the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters for the valuable support which it is giving to EASAC’s European initiatives, and in particular for providing such excellent scientists to lead EASAC’s energy steering panel and its work on sustainable forests. 

More information can be found here.