Finland reveals new climate change laws

Parliament agrees to target 80% emissions reduction by 2050 and promote use of renewable energy

Finland has around 1,300 million tonnes of carbon sequestered in forests (Pic: Heather Sunderland/Flickr)

Finland has around 1,300 million tonnes of carbon sequestered in forests (Pic: Heather Sunderland/Flickr)

By Ed King

Finland has become the latest country to announce a new climate change act, which will put into law a long-term mitigation target of 80% emissions reduction by 2050.

Describing the news as ‘super’, Environment Minister Ville Niinistö said it would place Finland on a path towards “a position as a pioneer of low-carbon society”.

“Climate change policy will be open to a more democratic preparation, and public participation opportunities will improve,” he said in a statement.

“Predictable climate policy for business, in turn, creates an excellent platform for low-carbon solutions for reducing emissions. Research and policy to strengthen dialogue is also important.”

In 2013 Finland’s total emissions of greenhouse gases were equal to 60.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, almost unchanged from 2012.

Government data reveals coal consumption increased but the peat, oil and natural gas use fell.

In an interview with RTCC last December Niinistö said Finland would push for ambitious European 2030 climate targets in line with science

OFFICIAL PDF: Finland’s Climate Change Act

“The biggest national interest is keeping climate change under control, having a sustainable planet we can continue building social, wellbeing and economic prosperity, we need to address climate change,” he said.

“If we don’t do smart green growth there isn’t going to be any economic growth on the planet”

Finland joins the UK, Denmark, Ireland, South Korea, Mexico and Vietnam as countries which have legally binding carbon targets.

Around 400 MPs are meeting in Mexico City this week to try and boost those numbers. National laws are expected to underpin any future UN climate agreement.

Tasneem Essop, leader of WWF’s UN climate negotiating team at UN talks Bonn welcomed the news.

“The announcement by Finland is timely, demonstrates leadership and commitment. It should send a strong signal to other countries to also act urgently and contribute to the global effort to fight climate change.”

Earlier this week the US released details of plans to cut carbon from the power sector by 30%, while senior Chinese officials indicated it was working on proposals to cap emissions.

Yesterday the UN released a set of guidelines for governments to follow when submitting their ‘nationally determined contributions’ to a proposed UN climate deal.

All developed and major economies are expected to deliver emission reduction targets to the UN by the end of March 2015.

INTERVIEW: Finland Environment Minister Ville Niinistö (November 2013)

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