The areas covered by snow and permafrost are shrinking, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
That is the reason why Finnish Minister of Transport and Communications Sanna Marin considers it important that Finland reduce its emissions and show a way towards carbon neutral world, according to a Government press release.
The IPCC report shows how the amount of ice and snow in the world has decreased and the Arctic sea ice has declined in thickness and extent. The observed changes in the sea, glaciers, snow cover and permafrost will continue, but their intensity will depend on the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.
"Unbiased measures will be needed also in the transport sector to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change and to limit the temperature increase to less than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. The carbon footprint of road, sea and air transport needs to be reduced in order to phase out fossil fuels and, according to the Government Programme, make Finland carbon neutral by 2035. EU transport ministers also call for a long-term and comprehensive approach to reducing transport emissions" Minister Sanna Marin says.
As the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland promotes the carbon neutrality goal for 2050. In Finland and the EU, transport accounts for around one fifth of greenhouse gas emissions.
According to experts, a rise of not more than 1.5 degrees in the global average temperature means that in future the Arctic Ocean will at times be completely ice-free in the summer. Freight transport and cruise tourism are growing on Arctic sea routes, where the marine environment is vulnerable and maritime conditions are challenging. As the climate warms up, it is all the more important to prevent environmental damage and reduce the amount of nutrients in and discharges of harmful substances into water.
"Winter navigation, ice, and snow are Finland's special areas of expertise. Finland can offer its expertise in oil spill response, for example, and help prepare for the challenges of Arctic shipping. Environmental expertise plays a huge role when the climate changes," Minister Marin says.
According to the report 'Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate', in the scenario of high-level greenhouse gas emissions, several communities dependent on oceans, snow and ice may meet the limits of adaptation after 2100. The most vulnerable societies, for example near coral reefs and along the Arctic coasts, may face the limits of adaptation clearly before the end of the century even in the scenarios of low-level greenhouse gas emissions.
"Here in Finland, too, there will be changes in the seasonal soil frost variation, and the soil moisture will increase. In our transport infrastructure management, airports and rail transport, we must be prepared for the challenges arising from the changes in the freezing of the ground and for the increasing seasonal variation in the extent of the snow cover," says State Secretary Mikko Koskinen.