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December 01, 2015



Tomi, if all 400 million EU citizens move to Finland, things might get crowded. And then there are also the 1 billion Africans. And not to forget the people still living in the Middle East. Does that all fit?

Actually, it does fit if you do the numbers. If we set aside 100,000 of Finland's 338,450 sq km aside for people, we can accommodate 1 billion people and give each of them 100 square meters. With 3 persons per household each home has 300 square meters Use half for living (~6x25 meters) and half for roads etc.. We can also spread out another billion over Sweden and Norway ;-)

See, easy.

Tomi T Ahonen

Winter - gotta luv the engineering mind. Thanks!

Tomi Ahonen :-)


All right, having lived in Finland and read about what climate change brings us, I will just warn people about a couple of things.

1) "our most dangerous mushrooms won't kill you but can give you quite a nasty hallucination".

Korvasieni. They take three days to destroy your kidneys, letting you die a horrible death.

They are edible though, if one -- very, very carefully -- processes them according to Finnish methods (boil and rinse several times with plenty of water in well-ventilated rooms).

2) Summers and winters. In summer, your main problem is to find a dark enough room to sleep. In winter, you get depressed because it is always dark. Nothing to do with temperature.

3) Mosquitoes. Yikes! If the country warms, then mosquitoes will plague Finns all year round! And if mosquito-borne diseases -- and specific species like the infamous tiger mosquito -- move up to Finland, then people will be in real trouble there.

4) Glacial age cold. Finland and other European countries are inhabitable though located far more northernly than American countries thanks to the Gulf Stream. A strong climate change will disrupt that stream and send it away from European coasts -- which means Finland will get colder...

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi E

I understand the pain. And as you know, I live in Hong Kong... :-)

So yeah, ok, one mushroom is deadly - but it won't attack you. You have to be dumb enough to pick it up in nature and then stuff it into your mouth. I decided when I was very very small, not to eat ANY mushrooms just to be safe. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries only (ok, and apples from apple trees). Nothin else. Oh, wait, and rhubarb of course.

Mosquitos! Gosh I forgot about those deadly nasty flying killing-machines. Much of Africa and Latin America has mosquitos that are actually deadly - and obviously are dastardly in hiding among regular mosquitos so we the humans will never know which mosquito bite was the one that gave us the incurable disease haha... no deadly mosquitos (yet) in Finland but you're right. Yet another reason why I moved out of Finland were the mosquitos, gosh I hated them (and still do). But so far, Finnish mosquitos are mostly an irritant (unless hit by a massive swarm in Lapland) and won't kill you. However with climate change more nasty immigrant mosquitos might migrate to Finland and bring that plague to the nation. Even if that were to happen, the far more deadly parts of the planet in terms of mosquitos will be the more hot regions - all current deadly areas for mosquitos and other insect bites - and if they end up migrating with the climate change, then Europe will be worse than Finland haha as it will be hotter and those swarms will have come that way on their way to cooler Finland...

But very good point. Note E, I added the part about Africa and LatAm and credited you for reminding me about mosquitos.

Now nasty winter darkness (I hate that) and the corresponding can't-sleep-summer-brightness-at-night, those are not DEADLY problems while they no doubt contribute to suicides. But I think suicides by our new immigrant friends will be a positive, pro-active ending of a life, as opposed to being eaten by a tiger in Malaysia or by a lion in Tanzania or drowned in a Tsunami in Indonesia or buried in a volcano eruption in Guatemala or eaten by a shark in Australia haha.... So the occasional suicides by our new neighbors will just help even up the load, releasing more space for new incoming masses who want all to live in the wonderful nirvana of Finland :-)

Now on glacial age cold. Ok, fair enough. If the Gulf Stream is disrupted, then all of Europe will freeze and we'll have a new ice age. And Finland will bear it far more harshly than the other European nations as we are so far up North and with a frozen-solid Baltic sea, we'll just have an 'East Wind' as our daily delight of sheer misery. Then I think Finns will be better prepared to deal with those rapidly freezing conditions than most Europeans but also Finns would be very fast to move away to... say Hong Kong here in the tropics :-) But thats for another forecast maybe in the next decade or the one after that :-)

Tomi Ahonen :-)


You're doing exactly what dumb climate deniers are doing. Pointing to a region/event and making broad claims. "Oh look, a record blizzard! Global warming is a hoax"

The globe is warming on average, but global warming usually leads to extreme weather, not nice weather.


Wayne - It's hard to lighten up. This kind of naive amateur logic is widely used by climate deniers and it's the kind that gulible idiots love (not complex climate models developed by specialists).
Far to often have I heard idiots claiming "global warming will do wonders for the gloomy weather over here"


If you had followed Tomi's blog, you would have known he has ridiculed the global warming deniers in USA politics repeatedly.

I would file this post under "Humor".


> So yeah, ok, one mushroom is deadly

Just to point out that with the little knowledge you have left about it, you should focus less on Finland and more on U.S. politics:

Valkokärpässieni (a.k.a. "European destroying angel") is a Finnish deadly mushroom. More lethal than korvasieni and cannot be "purified" by boiling. Very easy to accidentally pick up as a champignon (the very delicious white mushroom).

Kavalakärpässieni (a.k.a. "Death cap") is also found in Finland, one of the most poisonous of all toadstools. Extremely lethal.

For berries we have Sudenmarja (a.k.a. Herb Paris) which looks like blueberry except it's - yes - poisonous.

We don't have deadly spiders or snakes but ticks spread Lyme disease, louping ill, Q fever and tick-borne encephalitis.

And yes we still have regular sightings of bears, lynxes and wolves in Finland. Not that they have actually attacked people recently but loss of cattle and/or pets is known to happen.


Tomi you have forgotten to mention that




are two extremely valid sentences in the land of Suomi!


If you want to have a look at the beautiful weather in Helsinki, here is your chance:

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi QtFan

I honestly thought the above was 'obviously' humor and didn't need the statement that its only a joke by a passionately nationalistic Finn so proud of his country he lives permanently on the opposite side of the planet... :-)

I am 100% in favor of the Paris initiative and fear that global warming may actually doom the human race if, as some scientists have said, we are near (or even past) a tipping point after which the earth's natural rhythms and climate will inevitably warm so much that humans cannot live on it (at least in numbers in the Billions) and before that moment comes, there would be a third world war for whatever clean resources are left. I am an extreme climate fanatic in that way, aligned with Greenpeace etc on those issues. I have seen a lot of smart (and some dumb) commentary about global climate change and whenever it made sense, I have added my little voice to the matters such as strongly endorsing the Pope's encyclical on climate change that came earlier this year - even though I am not a Catholic myself.

So on the pricincpals, I am 100% with you QtFan and totally agree on the seriousness of global climate change. I also occasionally write on those topics such as when I did some blogs about the US political race for President, I have mentioned how much the climate issue resonates with youth voters and skews very strongly Democratic for 2016 elections etc.

But this blog article was a 'Christmas joke' blog I try to do most year, like the one about Santa Claus doing his gifts on just one night, or the song about how Stephen Elop the past CEO of Nokia was giving us the 12 Days of Christmas (misery) with new lyrics to that song, or how I have fallen in love with my phone, or how the next year would become the Year of the Bond (that was 2007 obviously) etc etc etc. This was for my regular readers and for any Finns out there, pride in Finland even as I live in Hong Kong. But, I do appreciate it, that you might have read it and thought I was 'serious' and then became alarmed that this is not helping... I hear you. I ask you to give me a second chance, and read it bearing in mind, it was 'intended' as a joke. Then hopefully you'll be able to smile and find a bit to laugh about, even with this matter that may - indeed - kill us off before our time is due, and end humankind's existence on the planet, before we are set to expire naturally. Of course I hope that this will not come to pass and the Paris meetings and the global initiatives will reverse the course and give humankind more time..

Thank you for writing

PS Wayne - thanks !!!

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Long time reader, first time poster. As a foreigner who has previously lived and worked in Finland for almost two years, I thoroughly enjoyed this blog Tomi. I love Finland and plan on moving back somewhere in the future. However you forgot to mention another, and perhaps the most important reason to move: Fins are among the kindest people on the planet (as far as I've experienced) and have a great sense of humor, as demonstrated by yourself. The common stereotype that Fins are cold people does not apply in my experience. Also... the women are among the most beautiful in the world. Thanks for an entertaining read that makes me miss my Finnish friends :)


You want to reduce carbon emissions? Introduce nuclear power and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to China and close their coal-fired power plants. Problem solved.


"Introduce nuclear power and hydraulic fracturing for natural gas to China and close their coal-fired power plants. Problem solved. "

Have you already calculated how long the world can run on the nuclear fuel that exists on the planet?
It won't even last for this century.

For all the money needed, it is cheaper to cover the Gobi desert with solar panels. And that even supplies much more power.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


That article has a huge flaw; it doesn't take into account modern generation IV nuclear reactors, nor does it take into account thorium reactors:

I too think that nuclear power plants is the short-term solution. Long-term is fusion plants ofc. :)


"I too think that nuclear power plants is the short-term solution. Long-term is fusion plants ofc. :)"

Sorry, but breeder reactors are much more complex and much more expensive than conventional plants. A lot of that is also experimental technology. Except for the fuel part, all of the other problems are also true for breeder reactors.

In contrast, solar energy already works, and the Chinese are good at it.

A few numbers:

Let's assume we want to supply all 1.5B Chinese with the average power used by Germans.

Solar flux in desert regions is around 7kWh/m^2 averaged over a day, or around 300 W/m^2 (24 hours). Take a net efficiency of 5%, losses in surface use and transportation included.

The German per capita energy use is ~5.5kW. If we allow for growth and take a generous 7.5 kW as the norm, it would take 500 m^2 per capita to power a country like Germany.

For 1.5B people we would need 750,000 km^2. The size of the Gobi is 1,295,000 km^2, so we need around 60% of the Gobi to cover the energy use of China for most of the 21st century.

Increase the efficiency from 5% to 10% and you need only half. Btw, there is no problem with clouds and rainy days there.

Current energy use per capita in China is 2.5kW, that is, around a third of what I planned.

And there is no reason to not plant solar panels on every roof in China.

That is all with current technologies.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


Solar power does sound impressive, but it does have one huge disadvantage: Nighttime equals downtime.

Looking at energy efficiency, we do not need as much electricity at night than we do at day (not everyone is a basement-dwelling hacker with a full server rack). The less sun there is, the more electricity is neccessary.

Therefore, Solar is a nice complement but can never be a complete solution. However, Solar could power the entire industry, that's feasible (since industry operates mostly at daytime). But again, the industry wastes much more power than your average household, so... Solar plants on the roof is not quite going to cut it, you'd need like 10x that power.

So no, Solar is not the answer either.


"Solar power does sound impressive, but it does have one huge disadvantage: Nighttime equals downtime."

There are MANY storage opinions. Simply using part of the charge of electric car batteries at night (sale-back) covers a lot of night-time use.


"So no, Solar is not the answer either."

Compared to the problems of scaling up nuclear power to cover all energy use, the "problems" and "costs" of solar are peanuts.


"But again, the industry wastes much more power than your average household, so..."

I see that there is a misunderstanding here. My averages covered ALL energy use, including German industry. My calculations for China assumed triple the total energy use, domestic and industrial, of China NOW.

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