Towards Climate-Smart Day-to-Day Living – Medium-term Climate Change Plan to 2030

The Finnish Government approved the first Medium-term Climate Change Plan “Towards Climate-Smart Day-to-Day Living on 14 September 2017. The plan was prepared pursuant to the Climate Change Act (609/2015). The Parliament proceedings with the Government Report has been taken and it has been approved in the plenum held on March 14th 2018.

 
 
 
 

The plan sets out the necessary means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the non-emissions trading sector, i.e. transport, agriculture, heating and waste management. Together with the Energy and Climate Strategy adopted in November 2016, it steers Finland to a path by which the climate objectives decided in Prime Minister Sipilä’s Government Programme and in the EU can be reached by 2030.

The target for Finland regarding emissions reduction in the effort sharing sector by 2030 is 39% compared to 2005. The measures taken so far will not be sufficient to achieve this but the gap between these and the emissions reduction path will be growing steadily between 2021 and 2030. The medium-term policy plan presents a set of emissions reduction measures, mainly national ones that should enable Finland to close the gap.

The emission reduction measures in the medium-term policy plan also contribute to the achievement of the long-term emission reduction target set for 2050.

Policy measures to reduce emissions

Transport

In the non-emissions trading sector, the greatest potential for reducing emissions is in transport, which now causes about a fifth of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for about 40% of the total emissions of the effort sharing sector. The aim by 2030 is to halve the emissions from transport compared to the levels in 2005. A special focus in the measures will be on road transport, where the potential for reductions is the greatest.

The emissions are to be reduced by replacing fossil fuels with new low-emission alternatives and by improving the energy-efficiency of vehicles and transport systems. Financial support is offered for purchasing electric cars and the conversion of old cars into biofuel and flexible fuel (FFV) vehicles is promoted. Measures are taken to boost the building of electric vehicle charging stations and refuelling stations offering biogas and provision of electric vehicle charging points by housing companies.

Transport systems in urban areas are developed through land use, transport and housing agreements (MAL), infill building is promoted, and jobs and services are steered to traffic nodes. Cycling and walking are promoted through joint programmes of the state and local governments.

Agriculture

In the agricultural sector, additional emission reduction measures mainly concern mitigating emissions from organic soils. The measures include raising the groundwater level through controlled drainage, afforestation of organic soils, and promoting biogas production in agriculture. Carbon sequestration into the soil is to be promoted through research and experimentation, as part of the international initiative supported by Finland that aims at an increase in soil carbon content by four per mille per year.

Building-specific heating

In building-specific heating the use of oil causes the largest emissions. The oil sector is required to blend 10% of biocomponent in the heating oil it is selling by 2030. Most of increase in the biocomponent percentage will take place in the first years of the period. By 2025 oil heating will no longer be used in state-owned properties, and all public-sector operators are encouraged to do the same. Clean burning of pellets and firewood is promoted.

Wastes

Emissions from waste management come from landfilling, composting, digestion, treatment of wastewater and incineration of waste. The incineration of waste produces carbon dioxide emissions but it is a highly cost-effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to landfilling. As a medium-term measure, a study will be conducted on whether emissions from waste incineration could be included in the emissions trading. The implementation of the Decree on Landfills is to be monitored and followed.

F-gases

F-gases (fluorinated greenhouse gases) are emitted from various appliances where these industrial gases that are highly harmful to the climate are used. By the measures that are already being taken, F-gas emissions will be efficiently reduced, but with a certain delay. To speed up the process, the plan proposes that appliances containing F-gases are avoided in public sector procurement, introduction of alternative technologies is promoted, and recovery of F-gases is improved through training and information. Studies and demonstrations are conducted on alternative technologies suited to local conditions.

Working machines

For the first time, reduction targets are set for carbon dioxide emissions from working machines. Emissions from working machines can be reduced by improving their energy efficiency or by switching to alternative fuels or power sources. The measures include the obligation to blend bioliquid in light fuel oil, promoting the use of biogas in working machines, and increased use of low-emission working machines through public procurement. The taxes on heating fuels were raised already for 2018, which has an impact on the price of light fuel oil as well.

Cross-cutting measures

Influencing consumption and consumer behaviour is the key to reducing consumption-related greenhouse gas emissions. The plan introduces a set of measures to cut emissions from consumption. In emission inventories the effects of these reduction measures will be seen in the effort sharing sector, i.e. in emissions from activities such as transport, building-specific heating and agriculture. Through sustainable food choices we can also make an impact on consumption-related carbon dioxide emissions.

In the field of energy efficiency there is a good number of cross-cutting measures and new technologies that reduce emissions both in the emission trading and effort sharing sector. Small-scale burning of wood generates black carbon that spreads in the atmosphere and accelerates warming in the Arctic. Promoting clean burning reduces adverse effects on the climate and human health.

The plan stresses the role of municipalities, which bear the main responsibility for local zoning, land use and transport planning, including mass transportation, and environmental education. In climate change policy, even closer interaction between the state and municipalities is needed. Public procurement offers significant opportunities for the public sector to promote climate policy objectives in practice.

 

Inquiries:

Magnus Cederlöf, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 50 535 250 060, firstname.lastname@ym.fi
Elina Vaara, Senior Specialist, tel. +358 295 250 097, firstname.lastname@ym.fi

Published 2019-03-19 at 10:40, updated 2019-09-06 at 9:16