The Climate Change Act lays the foundation for national work on climate change in Finland. The reformed Act sets emission reductions targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050. Now the target of a carbon-neutral Finland by 2035 has for the first time been laid down by law.
The Government submitted the bill for approval on 9 June. The President of the Republic is to approve the Act on 10 June and it will enter into force on 1 July 2022.
"The new Climate Change Act is vital for Finland. The Climate Change Act ensures that ambitious climate work will continue across government terms. The Act shows the world how we can built a carbon-neutral welfare state by 2035. It is also a strong signal for companies that in Finland clean solutions are well worth investing in," says Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Maria Ohisalo.
The Act lays down provisions on the climate change policy plans. The scope of the Act will be extended to also cover emissions from the land use sector, i.e. land use, forestry and agriculture, and it will for the first time include the objective to strengthen carbon sinks.
"Including land use in the Climate Change Act is a significant improvement. We have a lot of opportunities to reduce emissions and strengthen carbon sinks in the land use sector - in forests, construction and agriculture," Minister Ohisalo says.
The previous Climate Change Act entered into force in 2015, and it set an emission reduction target only for 2050. The new Climate Change Act will include emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2040 that are based on the recommendations of the Finnish Climate Change Panel, and the target for 2050 will be updated. The emission reduction targets are -60% by 2030, -80% by 2040 and at least -90% but aiming at -95% by 2050, compared to the levels in 1990.
Four policy plans to reduce emissions
The most important steering instruments under the Act are the national climate change policy plans. The Act lays down provisions on four national climate change policy plans. The measures included in these will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Finland and contribute to climate change adaptation. The policy plans are:
- Medium-term Climate Change Policy Plan
- National Climate Change Adaptation Plan
- Long-term Climate Change Policy Plan
- Climate Change Plan for the Land Use Sector
The Act applies to the authorities and obliges the ministries to draw up climate change policy plans. The aim of the planning system for climate policy is to ensure that the measures are fair and just and to promote sustainable development.
The Government will monitor the achievement of Finland's climate targets and decide whether further measures are needed. In future, an assessment whether the climate measures are sufficient for the next 15 years will be included in the Annual Climate Change Reports.
Sámi Climate Change Council as part of climate policy preparation
The livelihoods and culture of the Sámi people are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Under the new Climate Change Act, a Sámi Climate Change Council will be set up as an independent expert body. It will support the preparation of the climate change policy plans and give opinions on them from the perspective of the Sámi people.
What will happen next?
The President of the Republic is to approve the Climate Change Act on 10 June.
The Act will be supplemented in the autumn by provisions concerning the climate plans of municipalities. Provisions will also be added concerning request for review within the scope of application of the Climate Change Act. The consultation period for the proposal supplementing the Climate Change Act ends on 3 August. The proposal is set to be submitted to Parliament in autumn 2022.
Two government decrees will be issued by virtue of the Climate Change Act. These will lay down further provisions on the tasks and composition of the Finnish Climate Change Panel and the Sámi Climate Change Council.
Source: Ministry of the Environment