On Monday 3 February, the Finnish Government published a roadmap at its climate meeting that specifies the timetable and objectives to achieve carbon neutrality. Climate leadership will also offer opportunities for the Finnish industry and employees in all parts of the country. The objective of the Government led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin is to turn Finland into the world’s first carbon neutral welfare society by 2035.
“The Government is committed to taking action that will create a path towards a carbon neutral Finland by 2035. Climate change is the greatest threat to humankind. Instead, the fight against climate change offers opportunities for Finland to create viability, growth, employment and wellbeing. The transition into a carbon neutral society will be carried through in a way that is socially and regionally fair and just,” said Sanna Marin.
Emission reduction targets
The Finnish Climate Change Panel estimates that achieving the climate objective requires emissions to be reduced by 35 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The Government has decided on estimated emission reduction targets for individual sectors to ensure that the necessary reductions to achieve carbon neutrality will be implemented.
“Agriculture and forestry are key sectors in combatting climate change. We can further strengthen carbon sequestration in forests and soil. The Government decided to support ash fertilisation to increase the growth of forests, and we will also draft a new Act on Afforestation to increase the forest-covered area,” said Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
Opportunities to do business
Government considers entrepreneurship, competitiveness and making use of the potential of the whole Finland as the key conditions for a fair transition. “Fight against climate change means great opportunities for us. Finnish climate solutions created by companies offer opportunities to do business on the global scale,” Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä said.
The Government also outlined the future stages of the overhaul of energy taxation decided in the Government Programme.
“To boost clean investments, the Government has decided to gradually lower the electricity tax paid by the manufacturing industry to the minimum allowed in the EU, starting in 2021. This will support the electrification of industry and create predictability for companies,” says Minister of Finance Katri Kulmuni.
Where does the money come from?
The Government will set up a climate fund based on the State Business Development Company (VAKE). The fund will focus on combating climate change, promoting digitalisation and boosting low carbon operations in manufacturing industries.
Transition into a low-carbon economy requires sufficient investments in developing a circular economy, clean technology solutions and energy efficiency. The capital of the State Business Development is more than 2 billions of euros. During this government term, hundreds of millions of euros can be used from the climate fund.
“More detailed rules for the operations and financing of the climate fund will be prepared by the 2020 government discussion on spending limits. The focus will be on combatting climate change and on digitalisation, but in a way that overlaps with other players are avoided and the instruments used are proportionate and effective,” said Minister for European Affairs and Ownership Steering, Tytti Tuppurainen.