New Climate Change Act to be submitted to Parliament - carbon neutrality target 2035 included in the Act, emission reduction targets for coming decades as well
The Government approved the proposal for the new Climate Change Act on 3 March. The Act has been reformed to make sure that Finland’s carbon neutrality target for 2035 and other international and EU climate objectives will be reached. In addition to the carbon neutrality target, the Act sets emission reduction targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050. The Act lays down provisions on climate policy plans, and the reform will extend the scope of the Act to the land use sector. A target to strengthen carbon sinks will also be included in the Act.
“The decision on the Climate Change Act is the measure by this Government that will have the most permanent impact. It will ensure that the carbon neutrality target 2035 is maintained and that climate work continues beyond electoral terms. The Climate Change Act is also a strong signal to companies that in this country clean solutions are worth investing in. I am particularly proud that the preparation of the Climate Change Act has been carried out in close cooperation with researchers, and the objectives set in the Act are based on scientific recommendations,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari.
“Finland’s aim to build a fossil-free welfare state is a question that is related not only to the climate crisis but also to security policy. The faster we phase out our dependency on fossil resources, the better for the climate and for the security of Finland and Europe as a whole,” Kari continues.
The previous Climate Change Act entered into force in 2015, and it set an emission reduction target only for 2050. The new Climate Change Act will include emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040 that are based on the recommendations of the Finnish Climate Change Panel, and the target for 2050 will be updated. The emission reduction targets are -60% by 2030, -80% by 2040 and at least -90% but aiming at -95% by 2050, compared to the levels in 1990.
The new Climate Change Act is to enter into force on 1 July 2022.
Climate policy plans are key means to reach targets
To reach the emission reduction targets, the Climate Change Act lays down provisions on national climate change policy plans that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Finland and promote climate change adaptation.
The key plans are the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan, the Climate Change Adaptation Plan and the Long-term Climate Change Policy Plan. As a new plan, the Act introduces the climate plan for the land use sector, i.e. carbon sinks and emissions from land use will also be covered by the Climate Change Act, and the Act sets a target to strengthen sinks. The aim in all climate policy plans is to ensure sustainable development and a just transition.
The Act also lays down provisions on the monitoring of the implementation of the plans, which means that the Government must follow the achievement of Finland’s climate objectives and the need for additional measures.
After the reform, the Annual Climate Report to Parliament will be even more comprehensive than before. The general public will also be kept better informed about the trends in emissions and adequacy of climate measures.
Sámi Climate Council gives opinions on climate issues from Sámi culture perspective
During the process to prepare the new Act, a key focus was on groups that are particularly vulnerable to climate change and groups that as a rule do not participate in consultations, such as children and young people. In particular, opportunities were provided for the Sámi people to be heard as the progress of climate change is the fastest in the north. The livelihood and culture of the Sámi are particularly vulnerable to climate change.
By the new Climate Change Act, a Sámi Climate Council will be set up as an independent expert body that will produce information and give opinions on climate policy plans from the perspective of the Sámi culture. The Act would also obligate the authorities to negotiate with the Sámi Parliament when drafting climate plans.
Act to be supplemented by municipal climate policy plans in autumn
In the budget session of autumn 2021, the Government decided on a statutory obligation for municipalities, regions or counties to prepare climate policy plans. The supplementary government proposal for the Climate Change Act should be issued in the autumn. This is also when the provisions on requests for review under the Climate Change Act will be laid down. A report on this is to be completed during March.
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