Annual Climate Report 2022
The Annual Climate Report provides a summary account of the trends in emissions in Finland, implementation of climate policy and achievement of emission reduction targets. The process is led by the Ministry of the Environment. This page presents a summary of the trends in emissions in Finland.
Total emissions in Finland
There were no major changes in Finland’s total emissions in 2021. Total emissions refer to the combined emissions of the effort sharing and emissions trading sectors.
- Reaching the carbon neutrality target requires zero net emissions, i.e. the emissions should be equal to the sinks by 2035.
- Emissions from the effort sharing sector decreased in 2021. Finland’s emissions were clearly below the emission allocation for the effort sharing sector.
- For the first time, the land use sector turned from a carbon sink into a source of emissions, which increases net emissions and may increase the need for emission reductions in other sectors as well.
Trends in net emissions have a key role in terms of climate change mitigation. According to proxy estimate data, Finland’s net emissions show a clear growth in 2021, now that the land use sector as a whole turned from a sink into a source of emissions. The quite large harvesting volumes and slower forest growth are estimated to be the main reason for this.
To reach the carbon neutrality target, the following plans were drawn up in 2022: Medium-term Climate Plan, Climate and Energy Strategy and Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector. The trends in emissions in Finland and our climate policy are also influenced by the Fit-for-55 package of climate measures that is currently being prepared by the European Union.
Trend in greenhouse gas emissions and necessary emission reductions
Net emissions refer to the difference between emissions and removals. Carbon neutrality requires that net emissions are zero. The 2021 data is a proxy estimate.
Emissions from transport
Emissions from transport decreased compared to 2020. In Finland, the electrification of transport has progressed faster than expected.
- From 2020 to 2021, emissions from transport decreased by about 4%.
- In 2021, emissions from transport accounted for a little more than 20% of Finland’s total emissions and almost 37% of emissions in the effort sharing sector.
- Transport is the largest emission source in the effort sharing sector.
The volumes of emissions from transport depend on three factors: the distances driven, energy efficiency of vehicles and fuels used.
The number of kilometres driven in 2021 was 0.5% smaller than in 2020. The share of renewable fuels of all fuels used grew by about 6 percentage points, which is a significant improvement compared to 2020.
Emissions from transport depend a great deal on the age of the vehicle fleet. An even larger percentage of new cars sold in 2021 were fully electric or hybrid cars. However, the renewal rate of the vehicle fleet is not fast enough relative to the targets.
The distribution obligation is a key emission reduction measure in the transport sector. The purpose of the obligation is to promote the use of sustainable, renewable fuels to substitute for motor petrol, diesel oil and natural gas. Parliament has approved a legislative amendment that will ease the distribution obligation to slow down the rise in fuel prices. The aim is to compensate for the less strict obligation in 2022 by raising the obligation later on.
Trend in emissions from transport
Emissions from agriculture
Emissions from agriculture remained about the same as before.
- Within the effort sharing sector, emissions from agriculture have been about the same for many years. This was the case in 2021 as well.
- Agriculture is not only a source of emissions but also a carbon sink. When using sustainable cultivation practices, croplands can also sequester carbon.
The Government has set as the target to reduce the combined emissions from the effort sharing and land use sector by 29% from the 2019 level by 2035. A number of projects have been launched to reduce emissions from agriculture, such as increasing the afforestation of peatlands and wetlands. The processes of agriculture are slow, which means that it will take some time before we can see the impacts.
The security of supply in Finnish agriculture will be strengthened by supporting the shift from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy. Nutrient self-sufficiency will be supported by investing in the recovery of nutrients. There are signs that the trend is in the right direction: biogas production on farms increased by 50% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Efforts are also made to influence emission trends in agriculture through dietary habits. The measures include the National Climate Food Programme to be prepared during 2022. The new Nordic nutrition recommendations to be published in 2023 also take the environmental impacts of food into account.
Trend in emissions from agriculture
Besides those shown in the figure, small amounts of emissions are also generated by urea fertilisation and burning of plant waste in fields.
Emissions from the land use sector
In 2021, the land use sector produced more emissions than was sequestered in the sector. The quite large harvesting volumes and slower forest growth were estimated to be the main reason for this.
- In 2021, the land use sector turned for the first time from a carbon sink into a net emission source. The data is still a proxy estimate, but the change is significant.
- The net emissions from the land use sector in 2021 totalled 2.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Forests are the most significant carbon sink in the land use sector. In 2021 the harvesting volumes were higher than in the previous year and the second largest during the time the volumes have been measured. At the same time the growth of forests has slowed down, which may have impacts on the size of the carbon sink in the coming years as well.
A process is under way to update the key instrument that guide the Finnish forest policy, the National Forest Strategy. The new strategy, extending to 2035 will enable to also take the climate and energy policy objectives even better into account.
The Government approved the first Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector in July 2022. The aim is to reduce climate emissions in the land use sector and strengthen carbon sinks and reservoirs. The net impact set as the target for the measures is at least 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Land Use Sector
Climate work in municipalities
Municipalities and local governments have a key role as Finland aims to be carbon neutral by 2035. In future, the new Climate Act obliges every municipality to draw up an emission reduction plan.
- More than a third of the Finnish municipalities have set a climate target for their activities. The total number of residents in these municipalities is 4.5 million, which means that they represent about 80% of the Finnish population.
- Finland’s emissions in the effort sharing sector decreased by 19% between 2005 and 2020, but there are considerable differences between municipalities.
- There is an obvious need to further boost the climate work of municipalities.
The background conditions of the municipalities vary a great deal. Small municipalities, in particular, lack the resources to take cost-effective and impactful climate actions.
The municipalities can influence their emissions through land use and transport planning, public procurements and the energy companies they own. They can also encourage and advice residents, businesses and communities to take climate action. The municipalities can reduce emissions through public procurements, including school meals.
The Climate Act of 2022 obliges all municipalities to draw up a climate plan once during each council term, either alone or together with other municipalities. During this budget planning period, the State will allocate EUR 3 million to support this work. Besides this, the State will award grants to municipalities and regions e.g. for energy solutions, phasing out oil heating and promoting walking and cycling.
Index change in emissions from municipalities 2005–2020
The change in total emissions in Joensuu and Multia is in the same direction but there is a major difference in emission reductions per inhabitant.
Change in emissions 2005–2020
|Joensuu||-28 %||-33 %|
|Multia||-26 %||-4 %|
|Total||-31,7 %||-35 %|
The number of inhabitants decreased in Multia and increased in Joensuu in 2005–2020. The regional structures (e.g. arable area and transit traffic) change more slowly than the population, which is why emissions per inhabitant do not decrease at the same rate in small municipalities as in cities. Many small municipalities are just taking their first steps in climate work. Some cost-effective and impactful measures may not have been taken yet.
Monitoring of climate measures in previous years
According to the Climate Act, the Government submits the Climate Report to Parliament on an annual basis. Reports have also been published concerning the years 2019, 2020 and 2021.