Climate policy background

Climate change

Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and halogenated hydrocarbons (F-gases) are the most significant greenhouse gases causing atmospheric warming. Their atmospheric concentrations have increased during the past century mainly as a consequence of human activity. As their name implies, greenhouse gases cause atmospheric warming by preventing solar radiation from escaping back to space. On the global scale the major reasons are the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

Depending on the scenario, it has been estimated that if no policy measures are targeted at climate change, the climate in Finland will warm by between 1.8 and 5.5° C by the year 2050.

International agreements

Finland is party to international agreements aimed at controlling climate change, of which the principal ones are the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) (pdf) approved in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the supplementing Kyoto Protocol (PDF) approved in 1997. In the Kyoto Protocol industrial countries commit themselves to limiting their greenhouse gas emissions during the 2008-2012 period to an agreed level compared to the base year of 1990. Finland's obligation within the EU's burden sharing is to keep its greenhouse gas emissions at the 1990 level.

Certain other potent greenhouse gases which also destroy ozone in the upper atmosphere (certain CFCs as well as certain other halons containing chlorine and bromine) are controlled with the so-called Montreal Protocol. They are therefore excluded from the UNFCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

Climate policy in Finland

Climate policy in Finland is outlined by the Government and a ministerial working group. The national climate policy is prepared within a network of the key responsible ministries. An essential part of Finland's climate policy is the up-to-date national energy and climate strategy, whose updating is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Employment and Economy.

The latest strategy was accepted by the Government on 20th March 2013. This strategy covers climate and energy policy measures in great detail up to 2020, and in brief thereafter, up to 2050. The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the international agreements and negotiations concerning the UNFCC.

The greenhouse gas inventory is linked to other preparation of the national climate policy as outlined in the Government's decision in principle of 30 January 2003. Parties to the UNFCC are obliged to submit an annual national greenhouse gas inventory to the Secretariat of the UNFCC.

The inventory includes estimates and reports on the emissions of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and their removals from the atmosphere (so-called sinks). Besides data on emissions, the reporting should also contain methodological descriptions of the calculations and any revisions to them.

Statistics Finland compiles the inventory reports and participated in the preparation of the joint EU inventory. Statistics Finland has been designated as the national authority with overall responsibility for the greenhouse gas inventory in Finland.

Last updated 11 Mar 2021