Finland has every opportunity to serve as a model country in climate and energy policy, says Minister of Agriculture and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen. Making use of the available and new solutions will also boost investments and employment.
Finland aims at 80 to 95% emissions reductions by 2050 from the levels in 1990. According to the Government’s Energy and Climate Strategy, by 2030 we would have 250 000 electric cars and 50 000 gas cars, while at least a third of the road transport biofuel would come from renewable sources. By 2030, coal will no longer be used for energy and the use of oil has been halved.
These are among the means by which Finland is to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change that entered into force last November. The agreement requires that during the latter half of the century the emissions and carbon sinks must be in balance.
“In Finland this balance can be reached sooner, in 2045 at the latest. This is when our forests would sequester all the fossil emissions generated in Finland. In the international context this would place Finland among the highly ambitious countries. Of the other countries Sweden, for example, has set similar targets”, Minister Tiilikainen says.
With regard to forest sinks Finland is already one of the top countries in the EU as our forests sequester about 30% of the annual emissions generated in Finland. Despite the increased forest industry investments and use of wood, the growth of forests still exceeds the harvesting volumes. Thanks to the sustainable forest management that promotes the growth of forests, the carbon sinks will stay high in the years to come and be back at the current level in around 2035.
“About a decade ago several paper and pulp mills were closed down in Finland. Now new investments and increased use of wood are bringing significant numbers of jobs and boosting our exports and national economy. Actions should be targeted to wood building, which sequesters carbon on a long-term basis, and new innovations”, Minister Tiilikainen says.
According to the study by the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra published at the end of last year, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions could be significantly reduced by the emission reduction solutions we already have in the Nordic countries.
“Together with the other Nordic countries we can be the trailblazers of ambitious climate policy”, Minister Tiilikainen concludes.