Iceland’s Prime Minister Talks Climate Change and Gender Equality

Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir
Sometimes it can be an advantage to be small. You can do things bigger and faster.

Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir in an interview of 25 July 2019 with Ciara Nugent  of Time Magazine. See  https://time.com/5634790/iceland-prime-minister-climate-change-interview/ for full text. (Thank you Ciara and Time for these extracts .)

One of the only government heads from an environmentalist party, Jakobsdottir wants to make the country a leader in climate action too, with an ambitious plan to make Iceland carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years before the target set for Iceland’s neighbors in the E.U. “It can be an advantage to be small,” she says. “You can do things bigger and faster. You can actually change everything in a very short time.”

. . .

greenland-melting glaciers

On Jakobsdottir’s other political priority, though, Iceland doesn’t have time for a generational change. Climate change has already had visible effects on the country. Scientists say it is losing more than 15 sq. mi. of its glaciers each year. Fishing, which contributes around 30% of exports, is also under threat from ocean acidification. “We need action, now, and we’re actually setting out how we’re going to fulfill our goals,” Jakobsdottir says.

In September, she launched a fully funded 34-step plan to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. Iceland has a head start over other countries, as geothermal resources already provide most electricity and heating. Now the government is targeting transport “with very tangible projects,” the Prime Minister says, like banning fossil-fuel cars after 2030.

But the growing urgency around climate action makes her optimistic, she adds. The onetime demonstrator “can’t help but sympathize” with increasingly restive climate activists, like the Icelandic schoolchildren who have been striking weekly since February, inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. “I consider it support for us politicians who want to do something about it.”

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About the Prime Minister

Katrín Jakobsdóttir - 2Katrín Jakobsdóttir is an Icelandic politician serving as the 28th and current Prime Minister of Iceland since 2017. She is the member of the Althing for the Reykjavík North constituency since 2007. Before becoming Prime Minister, she became deputy chairperson of the Left-Green Movement in 2003 and has been their chairperson since 2013. Katrín was Iceland’s Minister of Education, Science and Culture and of Nordic Co-operation from 2 February 2009 to 23 May 2013. She is Iceland’s second female prime minister after Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir. (From WP)

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About the editor of World Streets:

Eric Britton
13, rue Pasteur. Courbevoie 92400 France

Bio: Founding editor of World Streets (1988), Eric Britton is an American political scientist, teacher, occasional consultant, mediator and sustainability activist who has observed, learned, taught and worked on missions and advisory assignments on all continents. In the autumn of 2019, he committed his remaining life work to the challenges of aggressively countering climate change and specifically greenhouse gas emissions emanating from the mobility sector. He is not worried about running out of work. Further background and updates: @ericbritton | http://bit.ly/2Ti8LsX | #fekbritton | https://twitter.com/ericbritton | and | https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbritton/ Contact: climate@newmobility.org) | +336 508 80787 (Also WhatApp) | Skype: newmobility.)

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