Government agreed on measures to strengthen climate action
The Government has agreed on measures by which Finland will halve its emissions in the effort sharing sector by 2030 and set the course towards carbon neutrality by 2035. The measures decided in the autumn will be strengthened to ensure that the necessary emission reductions of 5.7 Mt in total will be reached. This is how Finland can achieve the emissions reduction target proposed by the European Commission for 2030 in the effort sharing sector, i.e. in agriculture, transport, building-specific heating and waste management.
“In times like this our most urgent attention is drawn to the suffering of the Ukrainian people, the security situation in Europe and Finland’s security of supply. At the same time, the Government has continued the efforts to find solutions to the climate crisis. We have now agreed on climate measures to achieve Finland’s emission reduction targets in the effort sharing sector. With these decisions we are on the path towards a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari, who chairs the Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy.
“The crisis in Europe has shown that the direction of Finland’s climate policy has been the right one: building a fossil-free welfare state is also part of security policy. Speeding up the green transition is increasingly important. Clean domestic solutions bring work and wellbeing to Finland and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels,” Emma Kari says.
The Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan was circulated for comments in December-January and research institutes carried out assessments of the adequacy of the measures included in the plan in February 2022. According to the research institutes, the measures included in the draft version must be strengthened to achieve the objectives with sufficient certainty.
Based on these assessments, the Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy outlined further measures for the effort sharing sector. The particular needs that were identified included ways to find additional emission reductions of 0.1-0.2 Mt, strengthening climate work in the transport sector, strengthening the credibility of emission reductions in municipalities and consumption, and ensuring that climate targets for the land use sector will be exceeded, which will secure the use of the ‘flexibility’ for the land use sector.
Measures for heating, transport and agriculture to be strengthened, emission reduction target for public procurement
A just transition will be strengthened and climate measures of private households promoted by introducing a government guarantee model to support climate-friendly investments in households and housing companies, including geothermal heat or purchasing clean vehicles. In addition, a support model will be prepared to provide assistance to people in a fair manner e.g. in situations where fuel prices are rising sharply. The support for phasing out oil heating in households and municipalities and energy subsidies for residential buildings will be continued.
Climate work in municipalities will be made more systematic by obliging municipalities and regions to draw up climate change plans. The obligation will be included in the Climate Change Act in autumn 2022. In addition, a Government Resolution on domestic and low-carbon procurement operations will be drafted. The Resolution will set an emissions reduction target for public procurement operations and the achievement of this target will also be monitored. These measures will ensure that the 0.4 Mt emission reduction calculated for the measures concerning municipalities and consumption will be achieved.
Measures to reduce emissions from agriculture will be supported and strengthened, which will enable a higher emission reduction target for agriculture (0.4 Mt > 0.6 Mt by 2030) and will also improve the profitability of agriculture. Climate work in agriculture consists of a large number of measures, such as improving soil carbon sequestration and reducing methane emissions from dairy cows, and preparing the Climate Food Programme. In accordance with the Government Programme, legislative measures will not lead to additional costs for farmers without compensating them for any such costs.
The achievement of emission reductions in transport is ensured by continuing the preparation of emissions trading in the national transport sector and the distance-based transport tax in case other national measures and EU-level solutions are insufficient. Emissions from transport will be reduced in line with the Roadmap for Fossil-free Transport. The production and use of biogas will be promoted by implementing the biogas programme, monitoring its impact and seeking additional measures to increase biogas production to 4 TWh. The Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy will discuss the matter in April 2022.
Government’s two other climate plans circulated for comments soon
The preparation of the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan has been coordinated with the processes to prepare the Climate and Energy Strategy and the climate plan for the land use sector.
The draft climate plan for the land use sector will be circulated for comments within the next few weeks. The process is led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The Government outlined that, as part of this plan, decisions on additional measures will be made to ensure that part of Finland’s EU-level emission reduction target for the effort sharing sector can be met by strengthening carbon sinks. Under his plan, a package of carbon exchange pilot projects will also be implemented with the aim to significantly reduce emissions and increase carbon sinks, but in such a way that this does not substitute for other emission reductions. The objective and implementation of the package will be further specified during the process, and it will be prepared swiftly so that the projects will be launched in 2022. The carbon sequestration market will be developed and a set of rules created for it.
The Climate and Energy Strategy is also to be circulated for comments in April. This process is led by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The Strategy takes into account the need to increase energy self-sufficiency and security of supply and speed up the transition to renewable forms of energy, which have become even more important after Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Together, these three plans cover all emissions in Finland and the measures to reduce them.
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