Finland's national climate change policy
The key pillar of Finland’s national climate policy is the Climate Change Act that entered into force on 1 June 2015. According to the Act, Finland must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050 from the levels in 1990. The Act also lays down provisions on a climate policy planning system and on monitoring the achievement of climate objectives. The aim of the planning system is to make sure that Finland will reach the targets with respect to both climate change mitigation and the preparations for this.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Government has set as the objective that Finland will be carbon-neutral in 2035 and carbon-negative soon after that. The aim of the present Climate Change Act is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% to 2050 from the levels in 1990, but the Act will be reformed in such a way that the targets concerning carbon neutrality, i.e. a balance between emissions and sinks, by 2035 will be reached. The Climate and Energy Strategy and Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan will also be updated during 2021.
The obligations and policy decisions under the European Union climate and energy legislation are binding on Finland as well. The EU is committed to a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This is also the commitment made by the EU, under the Paris Agreement, to the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Climate Change. In addition, the EU’s objective is to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Climate policy planning system
The climate policy planning system under the Climate Change Act consists of the Long-term Climate Change Policy Plan, Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan and Adaptation Plan, and a separate Energy and Climate Strategy.
The Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan presents the measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity in building-specific heating and cooling, agriculture, transport and waste management and in terms of industrial F-gases, as well as estimates of the trends in greenhouse gas emissions and impacts of policy actions on these. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for coordinating the work on medium-term climate change policy and for policy preparation in its own administrative branch.
- Valto: Government Report on Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan for 2030 – Towards Climate-Smart Day-to-Day Living
- Medium-term climate change policy plan
It has become a standard practice that each Government draws up an Energy and Climate Policy Strategy that comprises the emissions trading, effort-sharing and LULUCF sectors, maintenance and security of supply issues relating to the energy sector, and functioning of the energy markets. The responsibility for its preparation rests with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The Long-term Climate Change Policy Plan should set out the long-term policy measures for the emissions trading and non-emissions trading sectors to reach the climate policy objectives. The plan should be drawn up at least every ten years, with the work coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The first Long-term Climate Change Policy Plan under the Climate Change Act is yet to be prepared, but the Energy and Climate Roadmap 2050 was completed in 2014.
- Ministry of Employment and the Economy: Energy and Climate Roadmap 2050, Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Climate Issues, pdf
The Adaptation Plan presents an assessment of risks and vulnerabilities and, where necessary, sector-specific action programmes concerning adaptation. The Adaptation Plan should be drawn up at least every ten years, with the work coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The first Adaptation Plan under the Climate Change Act is yet to be prepared, but Finland’s National Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2022 was completed in 2014.
Monitoring of climate actions
The Ministry of the Environment draws up an Annual Climate Change Report that describes the trends of emission reductions in Finland and implementation of emission reduction measures and their adequacy relative to the targets. The report is submitted to Parliament, and it serves as the basis for public discussion on climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Finland also reports to the European Commission and UNFCCC Secretariat on the achievements made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The national monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions is the responsibility of the Statistics Finland, which also compiles country reports on the climate policy measures taken in Finland.