National climate change policy

The national Climate Change Act (609/2015) entered into force on 1 June 2015. The Act lays down provisions on the planning system for climate change policy and monitoring of the implementation of climate objectives. The aim of the planning system is to contribute to the fulfilment of the obligations binding on Finland for reducing and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions and to take national measures to mitigate climate change and adapt to it. The Act also lays down a long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction target of at least 80% by 2050, compared to the 1990 levels.

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for coordinating the preparation of the medium term climate change policy plan under the Climate Change Act and for policy preparation in its own administrative branch. The medium term climate change policy plan includes an action plan concerning measures to mitigate human-induced greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, transport and waste management, with respect to industrial F-gases and in individual heating of buildings, and estimated trends in greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of the policy measures on these. The first plan was adopted as a Government Report on 14 September 2017.

The key targets and measures of Finnish climate change policy were also set out in the Long-Term Energy and Climate Strategy, which implemented the targets of the EU's climate and energy package to 2020. In 2014, the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Climate Issues gave a report on the Energy and Climate Roadmap 2050. At the end of 2016 a new National Energy and Climate Strategy was adopted that 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. 

YHA Kuvapankki
Image Bank of the Environmental Administration

Responsibilities of the Ministry of the Environment in climate change policy

The Ministry of the Environment is the Finnish coordinator for the UNFCCC negotiations on climate change and the negotiations on climate issues in the EU. Within Finland, the Ministry is also the responsible party with respect to the UNFCCC.

In the national climate change policy, 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 Ministry is also responsible for coordinating the medium term climate change policy plan and the annual climate change reports to be submitted to the Parliament under the Climate Change Act.

The Ministry of the Environment guides the actions of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment to mitigate climate change.

National targets in figures

The Climate Change Act lays down the national long-term emissions reduction target for greenhouse gases. The goal of the planning system is to ensure that the total greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere owing to human activity will be reduced in Finland by at least 80% by 2050, compared to the 1990 levels. The long-term emissions reduction target concerns all greenhouse gas emissions, but the medium term climate change policy plan only concerns the non-emissions trading sectors, i.e. greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, transport, waste management, industrial F-gases and individual heating of buildings.

In accordance with the EU climate and energy package, Finland has approved the EU target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by 2020, from the 1990 levels. Finland's individual targets are:

  • To reduce emissions by 16% in the non-emissions trading sectors (such as construction, the heating of buildings, housing, agriculture, transport and waste management, and industrial F-gases).
  • To increase the use of renewable energy to 38% of final energy consumption.

Besides these, operators covered by the EU-wide Emissions Trading System are to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 21% by 2020, compared to the 2005 level.

Moreover, in the European Council conclusions (European Council 24 October 2014), the European Union has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990. The national targets for Member States have not yet been decided.

Finland's national climate change policy is based on international and EU policies on climate change. Each year, Finland reports to the European Commission and the UNFCCC Secretariat on the progress made in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. In Finland, the Statistics Finland is responsible for the national monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. The Statistics Finland also compiles on a regular basis a country report on the policy measures concerning climate change taken in Finland.

Further information

Merja Turunen, Senior Environmental Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 301,

Published 2013-11-01 at 15:38, updated 2017-10-05 at 9:03