Finland’s national climate policy
The key pillar of Finland’s climate policy is the national Climate Act. The new Climate Act that entered into force on 1 July 2022 lays down new emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2050 and updates the reduction target for 2050.
The emission reduction targets are -60% by 2030, -80% by 2040 and -90 % but aiming at -95 % by 2050, compared to the levels in 1990. According to the new Act, Finland must be carbon neutral by 2035 at the latest.
The scope of the Act has been extended to cover the land use sector, and now the Act also includes a target for the land use sector concerning stronger carbon sinks. According to the new Climate Act, the rights of the Sámi must be taken into account and negotiations with the Sámi Parliament are required in the processes to prepare climate policy plans.
The Act will be supplemented with an obligation for municipalities to draw up climate plans and with provisions on requests for review concerning the climate policy plans. These amendments are to enter into force on 1 March 2023.
The impact of the Act on guiding policies and actions is based on the climate policy planning system. Annual Climate Reports are published to monitor the achievement of the targets and adequacy of the measures.
The obligations and policy decisions under the European Union climate and energy legislation are binding on Finland as well. The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 per cent by 2030, compared to 1990. Another aim for the EU is to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
Climate policy planning system
According to the Climate Act, the climate policy planning system consists of the Long-term Climate Plan, Adaptation Plan, Medium-term Climate Plan and Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector.
The Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector was included in the system by the new Climate Act. This means that the sinks and emissions of the land use sector are also covered by the Climate Act, which also lays down the target to strengthen the sinks.
According to the new Climate Act, the aim of the Act and the planning system is to ensure that the measures are fair and just and to promote sustainable development.
The Medium-term Climate Plan presents the measures that will reduce anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions of the effort-sharing sector. The Ministry of the Environment has the responsibility to prepare the Medium-term Climate Plan.
The Government submitted the Climate Plan as a report to Parliament on 2 June 2022 and the implementation of the plan has been started.
- Institutional Repository for the Government Valto: Government Report on Medium-term Climate Change Plan for 2030 – Towards Climate-Smart Day-to-Day Living
Besides the emissions trading sector, the Climate and Energy Strategy published once during each electoral term covers the effort-sharing and land use sectors, maintenance and security of supply issues relating to the energy sector, and functioning of the energy markets. The responsibility for the preparation of the strategy rests with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and the Climate Act does not lay down any provisions concerning this strategy.
The Government submitted the National Climate and Energy Strategy as a report to Parliament on 30 June 2022.
- Institutional Repository for the Government Valto: Carbon Neutral Finland 2035 – National Climate and Energy Strategy
According to the Climate Act, the Long-term Climate Plan must present scenarios concerning the trends in emissions and removals that cover at least the 30 years following the adoption of the plan and in which consideration is given to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening of sinks and climate change adaptation. The plan is prepared at least once every ten years, and the preparation is coordinated by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The Long-term Climate Plan under the new Climate Act has not been prepared yet. According to the Act, the first Long-term Climate Plan must be adopted in 2025 at the latest.
The Adaptation Plan contains an analysis of risks and vulnerabilities and, as considered necessary, an analysis of the different aspects of adaptation in different administrative branches, across the administrative branches and in different regions. The Adaptation Plan is prepared at least once every two electoral terms and the preparation is coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
The new Adaptation Plan adopted on 15 December 2022 will guide the adaptation actions until 2030. Adaptation is a broad and cross-administrative question and work on it is done in all administrative branches, which is why the plan was prepared in collaboration between eight ministries.
The first Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector was submitted to Parliament on 8 July 2022. The process to prepare the plan was started before the new Climate Act entered into force, which means that it was not adopted under this Act. The Climate Plan for the Land Use Sector specifies the measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase removals in the land use sector. The land use sector comprises agricultural and forestry land and other types of land use (land use, land use change and forestry, LULUCF). The plan comprises measures targeted to carbon dioxide emissions from agricultural lands and to forests, land use changes and climate wetlands, and it also presents an implementation plan and a plan on how the measures and their impacts will be monitored.
- Institutional Repository for the Government Valto: Government Report on the Climate Change Plan for the Land Use Sector
Monitoring of climate actions
The Ministry of the Environment draws up an Annual Climate Report that describes the trends in emissions and sinks in Finland and the 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.