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 on the monitoring of the implementation of climate objectives. The goal of the planning system is to ensure that Finland fulfils its binding targets and objectives for reducing and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions, and implements national measures for the mitigation of climate change and adaptation to it. A long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction target of at least 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels, is specified in the Act.

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for coordinating the preparation of the medium-term plan for climate change policy in accordance with the Climate Change Act and for formulating climate change policies in its own administrative branch. The medium-term plan for climate change policy includes an action plan presenting measures for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity in agriculture, transport, waste management, industrial F-gases and the heating of buildings The action plan also includes estimates on trends in greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts that policy measures will have on these trends. The first policy plan will be submitted for approval to the Finnish Government during the current government term.

The key targets and measures of Finnish climate change policy are also outlined in the Long-Term Climate and Energy Strategy, which implements the targets of the EU's 2020 climate and energy package. The strategy was updated in early 2013. In 2014, the Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Climate Issues also completed a report on the Energy and Climate Roadmap 2050.

YHA Kuvapankki
Image Bank of the Environmental Administration

The Ministry of the Environment's responsibilities in the field of climate change policy

The Ministry of the Environment is the Finnish coordinator for the UNFCCC negotiations on climate change and EU climate change negotiations. On the national level, the Ministry is also the responsible party for the UNFCCC.

In terms of 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. Additionally, the Ministry is responsible for coordinating the preparation of the medium-term plan for climate change policy and for compiling the annual climate change report to be submitted to Parliament in accordance with the Climate Change Act.

Furthermore, the Ministry of the Environment coordinates the mitigation work on climate change of the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and the centres for economic development, transport and the environment.

National targets as figures

The Climate Change Act lays down the national long-term emissions reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions. The goal of the planning system for climate change policy 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 plan for climate change policy only concerns sectors not included in the EU Emissions Trading System, meaning greenhouse gas emissions resulting from agriculture, transport, waste management, industrial F-gases and the heating of buildings not connected to district heating.

In accordance with the EU climate and energy package, Finland has approved the EU's goal of achieving a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 20%, from the 1990 levels, by 2020. Finland's individual targets are:

  • Reducing emissions by 16% in sectors not included in the Emissions Trading System (ETS) (such as construction, the heating of buildings, housing, agriculture, transport and waste management, and fluorinated greenhouse gases from industrial sources).
  • Increasing the use of renewable energy to 38% of final energy consumption.

Besides these, operators covered by the EU-wide Emissions Trading System will 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. 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 the progress it has made in cutting greenhouse gas emissions to the European Commission and the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In Finland, national monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions is done by Statistics Finland. Additionally, Statistics Finland regularly compiles a country report describing policy measures on climate change taken in Finland.

Further information

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

Published 2013-11-01 at 15:38, updated 2016-09-19 at 9:14