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Parliament approves the Climate Change Act

Press release 2015-03-16 at 12:57

The Finnish Parliament passed the Climate Change Act with a clear majority vote on 6 March 2015. The Climate Change Act is a tool for the Government and the Parliament, facilitating the cost-efficient achievement of emissions reduction targets. The Climate Change Act establishes an emissions reduction target of 80 per cent by 2050 compared to the 1990 levels. The target is in line with national, international and EU climate objectives.

The Climate Change Act serves as the foundation for the long-term, systematic planning and monitoring of climate change policy. The statutory planning system strengthens the long-term predictability of climate change policy and promotes emissions reduction measures that exploit new, clean technology. The Climate Change Act makes climate planning more transparent and strengthens the role of the Parliament in climate change policy.

“The act improves the efficiency of climate change policy, and offers better opportunities for following it up. It is an important tool in the building of a carbon-neutral society, because with the Act, climate change policy has a goal that lasts past individual government terms. Furthermore, the Climate Change Act demonstrates Finland’s dedication to the mitigation of climate change at an international level,” says Sanni Grahn-Laasonen, Minister of the Environment.

According to the act, a long-term plan for climate change mitigation shall be drawn up once every ten years, and a medium-term plan once per electoral term. The long-term plan covers all greenhouse gas emissions and emissions reduction paths until 2050, along with the key emissions reduction measures related to these. The medium-term plan covers sectors outside emissions trading – traffic, housing and agriculture – and the measures set in the plan are more concrete and detailed than the long-term measures. A separate plan for adaptation to climate change shall be drawn up at least once every ten years.

According to the act, the Finnish Government must report to the Parliament annually on the implementation of the plans, and the climate change policy plans must be prepared in an open process that enables citizens and stakeholders to be heard. This improves citizen participation, Grahn-Laasonen reminds us.

“Finland needs a climate wake-up call. Climate change mitigation is not only an obligation, but also a great opportunity for Finland, because we have the right expertise, a growing cleantech sector and new, cleaner solutions. The new Climate Change Act allows citizens to participate more actively in and follow climate change policies. This will give climate change policy a better standing and raise the level of ambition”, states Grahn-Laasonen.

The Climate Panel, an independent scientific body, will also participate in the planning process. The Climate Panel collects and groups information related to climate change and adaptation, making it available to the Government and the public.

The aim is to bring the act into force at the beginning of the new electoral term. Preparations for the implementation of the act are to be started immediately. The enactment of the Climate Change Act was recorded in the programme of the Government of Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen in 2011. Many EU member states and other countries have enacted climate acts in recent years. 

More information

Aino Salo, Political Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)50 306 9599, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi

Tuula Varis, Director General, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 (0)295 250 310, firstname.lastname@ymparisto.fi