Climate change mitigation

Climate change is a global problem that should be solved by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions causing global warming.

Climate change policy is being made in all policy arenas, from the international to the local level. The core of the international policy on climate change is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), its Kyoto Protocol which is also binding on Finland, and the Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015. The European Union is also an important player and, as a Member State, Finland participates in the negotiations and processes where the EU defines its own policy objectives on climate change, which Finland is also committed to. In addition, Finland has a strong climate change policy of its own.

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Feodor Gurvits, Image Bank of the Environmental Administration

The Ministry of the Environment is the Finnish coordinator with respect to UNFCCC negotiations on climate change and negotiations on climate issues in the EU. Within Finland the Ministry of the Environment is the responsible party for the UNFCCC. In terms of national policies on climate change, the Ministry is responsible for matters such as land use and regional planning, waste policy and construction, which are all strongly connected to climate change issues.

The basis of Finland's climate policy

Finland observes the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which it ratified in 1994. The UNFCCC has been supplemented by the Kyoto Protocol, which further specifies the obligations of the countries committed to it in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period lasted from 2008 to 2012. The second commitment period from 2013-2020 is to enter into force when three-fourths of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol have ratified the Doha Amendment by which the second commitment period was agreed.

Now the focus in international climate negotiations is on the details of the implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 and on preparing for the entry into force of the agreement.

In connection with the negotiations solutions are also sought to the question how all countries could more effectively reduce their emissions before the new agreement enters into force. The commitments to reduce emissions made so far are insufficient in terms of keeping global warming well below the internationally agreed limit of two degrees Celsius. The adequacy of international climate change measures is assessed scientifically. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produces information on the background and impacts of climate change and means to mitigate it. The IPCC completed its Fifth Assessment Report in 2013–2014.

In 2008, the European Union defined its own binding emissions reduction target in the climate and energy package, setting country-specific reduction targets extending to 2020. By adopting the Emissions Trading Directive and the Effort Sharing Decision, the EU has legally bound itself to a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to the 1990 levels. Moreover, in the European Council conclusions (European Council, 24 October 2014), the EU has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990. National targets for Member States have not yet been decided.

Within Finland, the Climate Change Act (609/2015) lays down provisions on the preparation of climate change policy plans and the monitoring of their implementation. The goal of the planning system under the Act is to ensure that total greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere owing to human activity in Finland will be reduced by at least 80% by 2050.

The first medium term climate change policy plan was completed in September 2017. Together with the National Energy and Climate Strategy adopted at the end of 2016 it implements the climate and energy policy objectives set in Prime Minister Sipilä’s Government Programme.

The National Energy and Climate Strategy specifies the key objectives and policy outlines until 2030 concerning both the emissions trading sectors and the non-emissions trading, i.e. the so-called effort sharing sectors. The medium term climate change policy plan applies only to the effort sharing sectors, which comprises transport, agriculture, individual heating of buildings, waste management and F-gas emissions. Besides these, the plan examines the linkages between the sectors and cross-cutting themes, including the role of consumption, local work on climate change issues and public procurement. The plan further specifies and supplements the actions set out in the Energy and Climate Strategy to reduce emissions in the effort sharing sectors.

National climate and energy policy objectives are also shown in the Energy and Climate Roadmap 2050 adopted in 2014.

Further information

Merja Turunen, Senior Environmental Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 301, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Published 2013-10-25 at 14:51, updated 2017-10-05 at 8:50