Municipal climate change solutions programme (2018–2023)
Municipalities and local governments have a key role as Finland aims to be carbon neutral by 2035. They serve as the platforms, facilitators, boosters and catalysts for local and regional climate work. Within their own territories, local governments are responsible for zoning, land use, transport planning, ownership steering of energy companies, choice between alternative heating systems for buildings, and public procurement.
As a rule, the municipal sector accounts for about 10% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the region. The remaining 90% of the emissions are produced by other sectors, especially by the activities of companies and residents. This is why the municipalities should focus both on reducing their own emissions and on boosting emission reductions by other operators in the region. The municipalities have various kinds of instruments for this: obligations, allocation of funding, communication and service design.
Municipal Climate Change Solutions Programme boosts climate work in municipalities and regions
More than 60% of Finns live in municipalities that aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, five years before Finland’s national carbon neutrality target in 2035. Although Finland has several municipalities that lead the way in climate work, in many municipalities work for the benefit of the climate is yet to be started.
The Municipal Climate Change Solutions Programme of the Ministry of the Environment boosts local and regional climate work in Finland. The aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of municipalities and counties at least in line with the national target to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035 in a way that is as cost-effective and widely accepted as possible.
The aim is also to lower the threshold so that as many new municipalities as possible can participate in goal-oriented and systematic climate work. Even the municipalities that lead the way need support and faster action to transform their ambitious emission reduction targets into practical measures. The programme helps municipalities find suitable national and international sources of funding to boost their climate work.
The most important tasks of the programme are:
to promote and speed up climate work in municipalities and regions
to improve and strengthen partnerships, cooperation and flow of information in climate work between the State and municipalities
to provide funding for local and regional climate solutions
to disseminate the best climate tools and operating models and provide funding for these.
Funding provided to introduce best practices and experiment with new ones
The Municipal Climate Change Solutions Programme supports and funds climate work in municipalities and regions through procurement operations and government grants. Most of the funding under the programme is targeted directly to supporting municipal and regional climate projects concerned with introducing best practices for climate action and testing new ones. Neighbouring municipalities are encouraged to engage in climate cooperation with each other. On the regional level, climate work is promoted especially through Regional Councils and Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.
Part of the programme funding is used for national-level procurement operations that will facilitate climate work in all municipalities and regions, including by developing joint operating models, communication materials, knowledge base, and education and training.
Projects funded from the programme
In 2018–2021 a total of 134 projects received funding from the Municipal Climate Change Solutions Programme. The main themes of these projects include climate and economic leadership in municipalities, climate cooperation between local governments and companies, climate cooperation between municipalities and their residents, low-carbon transport, energy efficiency and regional climate cooperation.