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Stopping the energy use of peat is one of several policy recommendations tabled by the Finnish Climate Change Panel on Friday, 4 October. (Timo Aalto – Lehtikuva)

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FINLAND has to step up and expedite its climate actions if it is to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2035, states the Finnish Climate Change Panel.

The independent government-appointed expert organisation issued a list of policy recommendations last week, stating that the country must reduce its annual emissions by 2035 by a minimum of 70 per cent from the levels of 1990 – to approximately 21.4 megatons.

“Finland must step up and expedite its climate actions. Carbon-neutrality is an important staging post, but it is not the ultimate objective. Finland must reduce emissions and ensure carbon sinks are greater than emissions,” it emphasised in a press release published on Friday.

The Finnish government has declared that it is making good progress on its effort to reduce emissions towards the target set for 2030 by the European Union. YLE on Friday pointed out that the government has not disclosed what its stated objective of carbon-neutrality would necessitate in terms of emissions reductions, for example.

The EU in March voted for raising its emissions reduction target for 2030 from 45 to 55 per cent and adopting a net-zero carbon emission target for 2050. A total of 24 member states have committed to the mid-century target, most recently Estonia.

A union-wide agreement on the carbon-neutrality target, however, has yet been reached due to the opposition of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.

The Finnish Climate Change Panel on Friday published its roadmap for achieving the necessary reductions by 2035, estimating that the energy sector will have a pivotal role in bringing down emissions. With the roadmap, it said, the sector would witness a decrease of 77 per cent in emissions from the levels of 1990 by 2035.

Among the measures proposed for the energy sector are giving up the energy use of peat by 2035 and achieving an annual improvement of 20 per cent in energy efficiency.

The transport sector, meanwhile, could have a positive impact by promoting the electrification of transport and increasing the use of sustainable biofuels. In the agricultural sector, the number of cattle and pigs is expected to decrease by 25 per cent from the levels of 2016 as a consequence of a transition to more plant-based diets.

The key in the sector of land use, land-use change and forestry is to foster the ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, according to the Finnish Climate Change Panel.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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