The interaction between the European Union and Finland
in environmental policy is studied from different perspectives
including rationality, power, and social and economic consequences.
While this interaction has its own peculiarities, the general
features of environmental policy outcome are similar throughout
the western world.
Different approaches have been developed in this study
to estimate the magnitude of environmental impact. Among
these is an open ended environmental impact scale that measures
environmental impacts in square kilometers and years. A
number of case studies show how important environmental
issues are confused with minor problems or risks.
Why does this happen? The effects of environmental psychology
and manipulation are discussed in depth. The roles of research
institutes, mass media, environmental movement and professional
groups, all looking after their own interests, are considered.
Elemental particles are not disappearing and energy is
plentiful. What exactly, apart from climate change, threatens
the well-being of present and future generations in Finland
and Europe? What are the magnitudes and emergencies posed
by environmental threats compared to conventional threats
such as economic collapse or military conflicts?
It is argued that Europe’s political and administrative
environmental elite deliberately circumvent scale issues
and cost benefit analyses with the sustainable development
ideology. A rational approach would upset bureaucratic structures
and reduce their scope of power exercise. This is considered
in terms of fragmentation of decision-making and power theory.
From economic perspective, environmental policy is shown
to have serious implications. A healthy economy needs an
efficient permitting process and a rational justice system.
The new policy approach has created a jungle of legislation
that prolongs permitting processes and allows capricious
interpretation of laws by officials. By placing those engaged
in productive activities at the mercy of the bureaucracy,
Europe is pushing jobs and prosperity elsewhere.
This study proposes new methods to increase the quality
and accountability of decision making in environmental policy.
However, the core problem is found to be the combination
of power and cognitive dissonance. Even when confronted
with overwhelming evidence, erratic policies are pushed
through. This happens because the elite do not want to surrender
power capital back to administrative subordinates and face
accountability for past actions.
A change in the system of governance is needed to deal
with the ever-increasing body of legislation and bureaucracy
burdening the people of Europe. Splitting a new independent
entity from the EU Commission and European Parliament is
suggested for consideration. It would have the duty of protecting
the subsidiarity principle and producing independent and
critical reviews of policy outcomes. It would be given the
sole power and the hard job to rid the system from unnecessary
or harmful policies, legislation and bureaucracy.