Carbon Neutral Finland 2035

Three targets for the future:

  • According to the government programme, the Finnish Government is committed to meeting emission reduction targets and moving towards carbon neutrality in 2035 followed by carbon negativity. 
  • Finland’s obligation under EU law is to halve the effort sharing sector’s green house gas emissions (non-ETS) by 2030 (from 2005 levels).
  • The new Climate Change Act entered into force in 2022. The Act set emission reductions targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 and laid down the target of carbon neutrality in 2035.

Key pillar of Finland’s climate policy is the Climate Change Act. The scope of the Act was extended to cover emissions from the land use sector (i.e. land use, forestry and agriculture) and for the first time the Act includes a target to strengthen carbon sinks.

The emission reduction targets in the Climate Change Act are based on the recommendations of the Finnish Climate Change Panel. 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.

The reformed Climate Change Act sets emission reductions targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050.

Source: Ministry of the Environment

Annual Climate Report: Finland’s emissions decreased by roughly 4% in 2022

An annual way of monitoring the development of Finland’s emissions and progress towards emission reduction targets is the Annual Climate Report. The latest release is from July 2023. It revealed that while Finland’s total emissions decreased by approximately 4% compared to the year before, additional measures are needed particularly to strengthen the carbon sink of the land use sector to achieve climate targets. The achievement of the Finnish effort sharing sector’s obligation set at the EU level is also uncertain.

Based on current estimates, the target of reducing emissions by -60% by 2030 is possible to achieve. The emissions trading sector’s emissions decreased substantially in 2022, by 6% in total. Changes in energy use were the most significant reason for the reduction in emissions. The consumption of natural gas halved due to rising natural gas prices and the discontinuation of Russian imports. The rapid phasing out of fossil fuels in electricity and heat production will be accomplished in the coming years. The rate of emission reductions in the emissions trading sector may also be faster than anticipated.

The land use sector became a minor carbon sink again in 2022, but the sink is well short of the targeted level. The size of the forest carbon sink varies substantially from one year to the next, but the sink has declined significantly over the past few years. The weak development of the net sink of the Finnish land use sector is attributable to increased forest harvesting, the slowing of forest growth and the increased soil emissions from peatlands.

The achievement of the Finnish effort sharing sector’s obligation set at the EU level is also uncertain. This sector’s emissions decreased by 3% in 2022 when compared to 2021. Nevertheless, emissions from transport and agriculture – which are the largest sources of emissions in the sector – were largely unchanged from the previous year. Finland’s obligation agreed upon at the EU level is to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030. Examples of the measures aimed at reducing transport emissions include the fuel distribution obligation and accelerating the electrification of transport.

According to the Finnish Climate Change Act, Finland’s net emissions should be zero or negative by 2035. By 2030, emissions must be reduced by 60%, using 1990 as the baseline. It has been agreed at the EU level that the carbon sink of Finland’s land use sector must amount to -17.8 million tonnes of CO2-eq in 2030. Source: Annual Climate Report 2023

Key policy measures to achieve the government’s climate targets

The focus of Finnish government is on promoting the clean transition and investments in industry. Finland seeks to strengthen its competitiveness and attractiveness as an investment target for renewable industries by doubling its production of clean electricity. The share of renewable energy in energy production will be increased, and action will be taken towards phasing out the use of fossil fuels in heat and electricity production by the 2030s at the latest. More information can be found on the Government Programme: Finland and clean energy. 

We will update this article with a list of policy measures in 2024, as Finland’s new government gets fully going with its legislative work.

Here are Finland’s climate targets in a nutshell.

Further reading:

Read more about the Government’s climate policy:
Finland’s national climate policy (Ministry of the Environment)

Finland’s national climate and energy strategy (2022) is a medium-term action plan that covers all greenhouse gas emissions and removals achieved through carbon sinks:
Carbon Neutral Finland 2035 – national climate and energy strategy

National climate and energy strategy has been prepared in coordination with:

Read more on the Climate Change Act 2022:
New Climate Change Act into force in July

, Updated 21.11.2023 at 12:41