We are not the biggest, not the richest and not the most powerful here in the Nordic countries. But we do know how to make the most of what we have. In the last ten years we have created a movement that has changed food culture world wide under the titel New Nordic Cuisine. The movement started in 2003 and was led by Noma-chefs, Rene Redzepi and Claus Meyer. They saw a problem with the bad food culture in the Nordic and gathered chefs and food professionals from the Nordic countries to discuss how best to improve traditional dishes making use of ingredients from the local region. The rest is history. Noma was awarded "the world's best restaurant" title in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014 - and the New Nordic Cuisine is celebrated all over the world.
We should think about Nordic climate solutions the same way. The Nordic countries used the oil crisis in the 1970'ies to change path away from oil dependency towards renewable energy and energy savings. In the last 40 years we have succeeded in getting a large amount of renewable energy in to our energy mix with out harming our economies or energy security. On the contrary renewables have made us less dependent on oil and gas from conflict areas and created thousands of new jobs.
However, we lack a basic understanding of what makes climate solutions from the Nordic countries such a success. As Redzepi's and Meyers' New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto - we could use a New Nordic Climate Manifesto. A Nordic guideline on how to solve climate change issues.
So what should be the basis of this manifesto? In my opinion the notion that although we are the first generation in history to experience climate change - unfortunately we are also the last generation with the ability to do something about it. Our children and their children won't be given the same opportunity to change the course of either nature nor history. For them it will be too late if we don't do something. Therefore, we must act. Now. We have a responsibility to future generations and that should be the foundation of the manifesto. But we should also act in the smartest and most cost effective way - where we make sure that we get the most out of what we have at hand.
Besides this basis three simple principles should form the New Nordic Climate Manifesto and set the way forward for new ways of thinking about climate solutions in the Nordic, but also more globally:
1) Benefit from local renewable energy strongpoints. The New Nordic Cuisine draws on ingredients from the Nordic countries' food treasury. The New Nordic climate solutions draws on the wonderful Nordic weather. The Nordic countries are "blessed" with a lot of wind and rain. Therefore, wind- and hydropower are central ingredients to our energy mix. We produce more renewable energy than any other region in the world. We dream that one day all electricity flowing from our outlets originates from renewable energy sources. Today it is up to 50 pct. in Denmark on good days and we earn a lot on our export of wind energy.
2) Cooperate and integrate across borders. The New Nordic Cuisine would never have seen the light of day if it, had only been promoted by either Danes, Swedes or Norwegians. Same thing goes for climate solutions. When producing energy the wind blowing in Denmark and the water flowing in the rivers of Sweden and Norway are a lot more devious and unpredictable than just shoveling a bucket of coal in the power plant. Therefore, cooperation and energy integration across borders is necessary. Denmark is dependent on Swedish and Norwegian hydropower when the wind isn't blowing in Denmark. On the other hand Sweden and Norway benefit hugely from cheap wind power when the wind is blowing.
3) Get more out of less. Taking the New Nordic Cuisine to new heights the chefs and food professionals behind the concept are fighting food waste and making delicious food out of every thing available on the animal or plant. We have to do the same thing with climate solutions - be more efficient and eliminate wasted energy. For many years, the Nordic countries have been excellent in producing renewable energy and in making simple energy savings in household and industry. Now we have begun the process of becoming excellent in using renewables intelligently. This means integrating and storing renewables in our transport and energy system. For instance can electric cars and heat pumps transform electricity from wind turbines to other useful products such as mileage and heating. Introducing smart meters in private homes will futher boost the use of renewables and at the same time, boost product innovation in consumer electronics.
Drawing on the experiences with the New Nordic Cuisine, we can create a manifesto around New Nordic Climate solutions, which have an actual chance of solving many of the issues at hand. I believe that the New Nordic Climate Manifesto could be an important inspiration to people, all over the world on how to deal with climate change. I invite everybody to help formulate it rather sooner than later. Now is a good time.
This post is part of a "Nordic Solutions" series produced by The Huffington Post, in conjunction with the U.N.'s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (Nov. 30-Dec. 11), aka the climate-change conference. The series will put a spotlight on climate solutions from the five Nordic countries, and is part of our What's Working editorial initiative. To view the entire series, visit here.