The Government proposes the enactment of a new Climate Change Act. The Act would lay down new targets for climate policies, extend the climate policy planning system to apply to the land use sector and further clarify regulation in other respects to strengthen the regulatory impact of the Act.

The key aim of the new Act is to secure that Finland will achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. The carbon neutrality target would require the emissions reported and the emissions sequestered by sinks to be in balance by 2035 so that emissions are at most equal to the sinks. Beyond 2035, the aim would be to achieve carbon negativity by further reducing emissions and by strengthening carbon sinks. Carbon neutrality and carbon negativity would also include the goal of strengthening carbon sinks. Besides these objectives, the Act would also include an emission reduction target of at least 60% by 2030 and at least 80% by 2040 compared to emission levels in 1990. The target of 80% by 2050 included in the Climate Change Act currently in force would be updated so that the emission reduction target would be set at 90% from the level in 1990, but the aim would be to reduce emissions by 95%.

The Climate Change Act would extend the planning system to include the land use sector so that preparation and content requirements of the new climate change policy plan for the land use sector would in future be laid down in the Climate Change Act. A new climate change policy plan for the land use sector should be drawn up at least every other electoral term. Going forward, the same timespan would also apply to preparation of the Adaptation Plan. Also other necessary clarifications would be made to the regulation of climate change policy, such as content requirements. Going forward, preparation of the plans should also take any implications for biodiversity into consideration.

Climate Leadership Coalition welcomes the target of carbon neutrality by 2035 and the proposed targets for 2030 (60%), 2040 (80%) and 2050 (90% aiming for 95%) included in the Act. We also consider clarification of the targets for carbon sinks to be necessary. It is good that Finland, being an active developer of low carbon solutions, will be ahead of the mainstream. Clarification of the targets and the inclusion of the land use sector in the Act will improve predictability.

Section 11 of the legislative proposal provides for a long-term climate change plan and section 18 for the content of the annual climate change report.

In addition to the details mentioned in the Act, we consider that also the carbon footprint of imported goods (and services), verifiable carbon handprint as well as investment and employment effects of mitigation measures should be followed in government climate change plans and the annual climate change report.

By increasing our national carbon handprint, Finland can contribute to emission reductions on a global level and enhance national wellbeing by creating jobs for the growing markets of low-carbon solutions. We believe that reporting the carbon handprint and footprint as part of the government’s annual climate report, would give valuable information to the policy process and enable more holistic leadership.

Section 20 would provide for the Finnish Climate Change Panel and its duties. Going forward, the Climate Panel should have representatives from different disciplines. These would include natural sciences, social sciences and generally those fields – such as transport, construction, energy and land use -that study sectors closely related to climate change mitigation and adaptation. When appointing the panel, consideration should be given to a balance in the representation of different disciplines.

The focus of the climate change process is moving from understanding the complex phenomenon towards mitigation and the massive decarbonisation needed from both the industrial sector and society as a whole. We consider it important that the Finnish Climate Change Panel has enough competence from economics and investment. If necessary, the composition of the panel should be enlarged.

Other comments

Climate Leadership Coalition promotes systemic climate solutions which are scalable to an industrial scale. A systemic market-based solution should:

  1. Secure emission reductions and enable carbon sinks,
  2. Create sufficient carbon price to incentivise low carbon investments needed,
  3. Ensure economically efficient progress, i.e. the cheapest solutions will be implemented first,
  4. Be predictable in the long term and withstands shifts in political power structures,
  5. Be able to be adjusted rapidly when the need arises,
  6. Use carbon price revenues to speed up low-carbon solutions and green business,
  7. Enable a fair transition towards climate neutrality.

We hope that these criteria will be taken into account when drafting the climate change plans.

Climate Leadership Coalition is the largest climate business network in Europe. CLC is a non-profit association and its 87 organisational members employ 520 000 people globally. CLC’s corporate members represent almost 70% of the market cap of OMX Nasdaq Helsinki. CLC’s members believe that transitioning society towards a sustainable economy and consumption habits is not only possible but also economically viable.

More information: Jouni Keronen, CEO, Climate Leadership Coalition, +358 50 453 4881, and Juha Turkki, Development Director, Climate Leadership Coalition, +358 45 346 1925,