Government approves Climate Plan for Land Use Sector
The Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector puts together impactful, cost-effective and just means to reduce emissions from agricultural land, forestry and other land use and to strengthen carbon sinks and reservoirs. The Government approved and gave to Parliament the Government Report on the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector on 8 July 2022.
As stated in the Programme of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government, during this Government term the land use sector will be even more closely linked to the planning and implementation of the national climate and energy policy. In line with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the land use sector (LULUCF sector) comprises land use, land use change and forestry. The Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector, prepared in parallel with the Medium-term Climate Plan and the Climate and Energy Strategy, will contribute to achieving Finland’s carbon neutrality target by 2035.
The Government Programme sets down a good number of climate measures concerning agricultural land, forestry and changes in land use that have now been incorporated into the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector. Among the key measures that have already been launched are aid for the afforestation of wasteland areas, ash fertilisation in peatland forests, implementation of the ownership policy decisions concerning Metsähallitus, and extensive research and development activities under the Catch the Carbon package of climate measures implemented since 2020.
The key actions set down in the plan also include promoting the climate change resilient and sustainable use of peatland fields, beds of peatlands and mires and peatland forests, boosting forest growth and carbon sequestration and storage, and preventing forest loss through various kinds of measures. Carbon dioxide emissions from agricultural lands will be reduced with cultivation measures taken nationally and under the common agricultural policy of the EU that will increase and maintain the sequestration and storage of carbon into the soil. The plan also includes specific actions to water arable lands that are low in productivity and have a thick peat layer and to promote wetland cultivation. The development of carbon markets is also included as a measure in the plan.
The possible legislative decisions concerning land use fees will be made during the next government term. According to the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector, legislative drafting concerning the fees will take place in a cross-sectoral process by a working group led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Environment. In addition, the plan includes several cross-cutting measures related to e.g. research, advice and competence development.
Calculations show that target will be reached
The target set by the Government is that the measures included in the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector will enable to achieve an annual climate impact of at least three million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2035. The Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector will also contribute to the implementation of the EU’s climate objectives. Besides these, it will promote the work to achieve the 29% emission reduction target set for agriculture.
According to the assessments for individual measures by the researchers of the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the actions included in the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector would achieve a net impact of about 3.1 to 3.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2035. Based on the scenarios, the measures of the draft plan would reduce emissions from the land use sector or strengthen sinks by a total of 4.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2035. This means that the land use sector would achieve the Government’s target of carbon neutrality by 2035.
The process to prepare the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector was coordinated with the preparation of the Climate and Energy Strategy and the Medium-term Climate Plan. These will all be submitted to Parliament for consideration. The upcoming Forest Strategy will also contribute to the achievement of the sink and emission targets and obligations.
In autumn 2022, the Natural Resources Institute Finland will continue the assessments related to carbon sinks and emissions of the land use sector in 2021 and examine the impacts with respect to the implementation of Finland’s LULUCF obligation for 2021–2025. The study will provide more detailed information on why the land use sector became an emission source in the instant preliminary data for 2021. Based on this study, the Ministerial Working Group on Climate and Energy Policy will consider the additional measures that will be needed.
The Forest Act was reformed in 2014. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry will conduct a climate assessment of the Forest Act by the end of 2023 to determine the measures under the Forest Act by which the growth of the sink could be promoted in the short and long term.
Parliament will give an opinion on the Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector. The implementation of the plan will start without delay.
The Government Report (in Finnish and Swedish)
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Special Adviser to Minister Kurvinen
+358 400 694 233
Special Adviser to Minister Kurvinen (requests for interviews)
+358 50 388 0016
Senior Ministerial Adviser
[email protected] +358 40 077 4298