Reform of the Climate Change Act

Finland aims to be carbon neutral by 2035. The Climate Change Act is being reformed and strengthened to achieve this target.

As stated in the Government Programme, the role of the Climate Change Act as a guiding instrument will be enhanced from the present. To meet the climate neutrality and other binding international and EU targets, the Climate Change Act will be updated so that the carbon-neutrality target to 2035 can be achieved.

Emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040 will be included in the Act, in line with the path to carbon neutrality, and the target to 2050 will be updated. Targets concerning the land use sector and stronger carbon sinks will also be added to the Act.

The Government’s proposal for the amended Climate Change Act should be ready in 2021.

This is how the reform of the Climate Change Act proceeds

The draft government proposal was presented and sent out for comments in July 2021. 414 comments were received by the deadline on 6th September. The comments will be processed and necessary changes will be made in the draft government proposal during Autumn 2021. The complete government proposal is scheduled to be submitted to the Parliament in January 2022.

Questions and answers on the reform is available here (in Finnish).

Preparation of the reform

The process to reform the Climate Change Act started with extensive public consultations in autumn 2019. The aim was to hear the views of citizens and different stakeholders on how the Climate Change Act should be amended. Among the events was a roundtable of ministers and young people, and a discussion as part of the ‘Children take over the Government’ event on climate change mitigation through legislative means. A stakeholder event brought together about 50 people from various organisations to discuss the matter.

Besides these consultations, towards the end of 2019 the Ministry conducted small-scale social media surveys on the reform of the Climate Change Act, and a more extensive online survey that brought about 2,500 responses. In early 2020 several public events related to the reform were organised in different parts of Finland. Among the particular target groups were young people and the indigenous Sámi people.

The Ministry of the Environment appointed a working group to prepare the reform of the Climate Change Act in January 2020. The task of the working group was to prepare the key amendments to the current Act. The work is based on the Government Programme and matters raised in surveys and consultations. The working group met on a regular basis during 2020 and 2021, and concluded its work in March 2021.

Current Climate Change Act

The Climate Change Act (609/2015) entered into force in 2015. The current Climate Change Act imposes obligations only on the authorities, not on private individuals or companies. The Act sets out a number of plans aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change in Finland. It also obliges the central government authorities to monitor the trends in emissions and report on them.

The main steering instrument under the Act is the planning system for climate policy that is composed of three plans:

  • The medium-term plan to 2030 lists ways of reducing emissions in sectors not covered by the emissions trading scheme, such as transport, agriculture, heating of buildings and waste management. A new medium-term plan is drawn up for each government term.
  • The long-term plan (time horizon to 2050) considers all emissions, including emission reductions and targets under the emissions trading scheme. The emissions trading scheme covers electricity and district heating, metal processing industry, pulp and paper industry, chemical industry, air transport and construction products industry. A new long-term plan is drawn up at least once every 10 years.
  • The National Climate Change Adaptation Plan is drawn up at least once every 10 years.

In the current Climate Change Act, the plans do not cover emissions and carbon sinks of the land use sector. The Government submits Annual Climate Reports to Parliament on the implementation of the plans. Climate policy plans must be prepared in an open process, including citizen and stakeholder consultations.

More information

Elina Vaara, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Department, Climate 0295250097  

Outi Kumpuvaara, Senior Specialist, Legal Affairs 
Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Department, Climate 0295250225  

Kaisa Ryynänen, Communications Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Information and Communications 0295250021  

Karin Cederlöf, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Protection Department, Climate 0295250010