Finland Plans To Be Carbon Neutral Country By 2035 Could Be The Quickest Ever
The Nordic nation of Finland has set itself a target of achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2035. The target has been set at a coalition deal which was reported on Monday. This ambitious target is one of the planet’s promptest timelines for attaining carbon neutrality.
The declaration was announced after prolonged discussion for over a month. The incumbent Social Democrat PM Antti Rinne championed the deal and it was agreed on by 5 parties.
Rinee presented the plan as one of the parts of an overall package which includes higher welfare spending. She stated that the time has come for ‘investing in our future’.
The new State asserted that it would enact the target in the parliament and ensure its steady progress after reviewing the achievements in 2025.
The new representatives in the cabinet ushered in a new era of openness by conducting a press conference at a beautiful public library. They also set another green precedent by taking the tram, as per Heli Suominen, a Finnish journalist’s tweet.
I have to admire #Finnish government’s #PR today: taking the tram to the press conference, organised in a public library and open for everyone : a great sign of openness and transparency. Content counts most, but image helps #media #politics #pr https://t.co/sRQvcyoFHh
— Heli Suominen (@helisuominen) June 3, 2019
Interestingly though, this target is not necessarily the shortest timeline, with the neighbouring country of Norway with an earlier 2030 target. Finland does not want to rely on purchasing credits for its carbon reducing initiatives though, but that will be reviewed again in 2025 for amends.
The ambitious target is the middle ground which has been reached between 2 political groups. The leftists and greens forming one group and the earlier leading Centre Party. The first group pushing for emission reduction faster, wanting to set a green precedent as a wealthy nation. The latter group was apprehensive about the disruption in the forestry and energy industry of the country.
The move includes reforms in energy tax, railway investments, nature conservation, and new sustainability regulations for the generation of energy by wood burning.
The energy production will require strict regulation of logging due to the usage of peat to generate energy, as per Greenpeace Nordic’s Sini Harkki. She also states that the people wanted prompt action and they will get it. It is a new kind of venture but it will be made possible.
The rates of forest harvests have increased from the previous 24 million tons in 2015 to about 26-28 million tons last year. Another mill situated in Kemi is also expected to provide for another 1.5 million tons of demand. There are also other facilities which have been proposed in Kuopio and Kemijärvi.
The country would also require phasing out the use of peat and fossil fuels, which currently account for about 40% of the total energy use.
As per Karoliina Auvinen from Aalto University who co-authored a paper on fossil-free Finland, ‘the change needs to be systemic.’
The plan also requires an enormous increase in solar power and wind power generation capacities in order to electrify transport and heating. All of this also needs to be done in 1 investment cycle, Auvinen says.
The bioenergy industry would contribute another 10% of the overall energy production from forest residues and agricultural waste.
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A representative of SAK, a trade unionists’ group, Lauri Muranen has backed the ambition of the Finnish State, as long as there is a legitimate plan for every industry.
The peat industry is going to lose a lot of jobs eventually but coming into the battle prepared is better than being ignorant about it. EU must also be influenced by the plan instead of Finland doing it on its own. Muranen added.
Let’s hope all the complications can be settled soon and Finland reaches its ambitious target.
IMAGE CREDIT: kodda