Towards carbon-neutral Finland – Government adopts Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan
The Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan presents the package of measures by which Finland will halve emissions from the effort-sharing sector by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. The Government approved and gave to Parliament the Report on the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan on 2 June 2022.
“Building a fossil-free welfare state is now more urgent than ever – from the perspective of both climate and security policy. At the same time, we must make sure that the transition is just. Effective climate work that is also fair is the guiding principle all through the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan that has now been completed. The plan contains various kinds of financial support to both households and local governments so that the process to phase out fossil fuels will be as just as possible,” says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Emma Kari.
Measures to boost a fair transition include financial support for phasing out oil heating, purchase and conversion subsidies for low-emission vehicles, and subsidies for building charging points for electric cars.
According to preliminary data from Statistics Finland, Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 were about the same as in the previous year. In the longer term, emissions have decreased.
“The good news is that last year emissions decreased in the effort sharing sector, e.g. in the transport, agriculture and waste sectors. The Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan contains the measures by which the decrease in these emissions will continue and we will stay on the path towards a carbon-neutral Finland,” Minister Kari says.
“Last week we had quite alarming news that, based on preliminary data for 2021, the land use sector has for the first time turned from a carbon sink into a source of emissions. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is currently leading a process to prepare a climate plan for the land use sector, and the Government must find ways to reverse the trend when finalising this plan,” Minister Kari continues.
Through the measures of the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan it will be possible for Finland to achieve the emission reduction target to 2030 proposed by the European Commission for the effort-sharing sector, i.e. agriculture, transport, individual heating of buildings and waste management. The planned measures will reduce emissions by an estimated 5.7 megatonnes by 2030 compared to the current trend in emissions.
Emissions from transport, agriculture and heating reduced
Emissions from transport will be reduced in line with the Roadmap for Fossil-free Transport. Support and incentives will be provided to boost the transition from fossil fuels to electricity and biofuels, renew the vehicle fleet and improve the energy efficiency of the transport system. The achievement of emission reductions in transport will be ensured by continuing the preparation of national emissions trading in the transport sector and the distance-based transport tax model, in case the other national measures combined with the solutions at the EU level are insufficient. The obligation to distribute renewable transport fuels will be raised from the 30% decided earlier to 34% by 2030 and the measures included in the biogas programme will be implemented to increase the production of biogas.
Emission reduction measures for agriculture will be supported and strengthened. These include mitigating emissions from peatlands, increasing carbon sequestration in mineral soil, precision farming, climate-friendly food choices and reducing methane production from dairy cows.
Emissions from building-specific heating will be mitigated especially by phasing out oil and gas heating and by adopting low-carbon solutions. This transformation will be supported by investment subsidies and the tax credit for domestic help. The aim is also to tighten the obligation to distribute renewable heating fuels by 2030, which will effectively reduce emissions.
Focus on municipalities and public procurement
Climate work done in municipalities will be strengthened. Legislation is being drafted to obligate local governments to draw up climate plans, either alone or together. The legislative amendment related to the obligations of local governments is to be given to Parliament in autumn 2022.
Public procurement also plays an important role in reducing emissions. According to the plan, a Government Resolution will be adopted concerning domestic and low-carbon procurement operations. The Resolution will set an emissions reduction target for public procurement operations, and the achievement of this target will also be monitored. Nearly 80% of GHG emissions associated with public procurement originate from purchases made by local governments and joint municipal authorities and about 20% from those made by the central government.
What will happen next?
Parliament will give its opinion on the Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan. The implementation of the plan will start immediately.
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. Together, these three plans cover all emissions in Finland and the measures to reduce them. The plan continues the work done under Finland’s first Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan adopted in 2017.
Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (requests for interviews with the Minister)
+358 50 599 3094
Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
+358 295 250 091
Senior Ministerial Adviser
+358 295 250 060