Finnish Climate Change Panel’s projects and reports 2012-2015.
Finnish Climate Change Panel’s projects and reports 2012-2015.
Finnish forests function, on the one hand, as a carbon sink and sequestration and, on the other hand, as raw material for bioeconomy, enabling wood to be used in products producing fewer emissions. However, there are differing scientific opinions on the climate effects of wood use. The Climate Panel project aims to identify the types of wood use that will help to reach the greatest benefits regarding the climate and society. In a unique way, the project brings together the expertise of all Finnish key researchers in the field.
This project mapped out the key actors and their specific roles in climate policy reporting of Finland. The main results include firstly two diagrams exposing the links and the division of labour between the administrative levels and the considerable variety of research institutes and other experts’ organisations involved in the reporting. Secondly, this report provides a list of recommendations concerning the development of the systematics of energy and climate policy monitoring in Finland. Furthermore, it lists some recommendations to improve the accessibility of climate change information for the multiple end-users active in climate policy. The results of the project are based on a literature review describing the development of the monitoring system and on a set of interviews of key persons/experts in the field who work at several ministries, research institutes and other expert organisations.
Climate change brings gradually changes to prevailing weather conditions and it also alters the patterns of extreme weather conditions. These impacts will be felt across the society directly and indirectly, increasing the risks to human well-being and economic activity. The combined uncertainty related to changes in the natural world as well as in societies themselves is the key challenge for adaptation to climate change. This report examines the responsibilities associated with flood and crop damages in agriculture, in particular. Legislation for managing flood risk aims to prevent flood risk, alleviate the damages and support preparedness for flooding. The legislation clarifies the preparedness process and division of tasks of public authorities and private actors
Adaptation to climate change: risks, responsibilities and costs (December 2015)
The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from Finnish transport sector were 12,0 Mt in 2013, which is about 23% of total CO2 emissions in Finland. The transport sector’s share of emissions has grown during the last few years as the emissions from industry and energy production have decreased. Hence, the development of transport emissions is increasingly important when the possibilities to achieve the greenhouse gas reduction targets in Finland are evaluated. The CO2 emissions of transport should be decreased from the 1990 level by at least 40% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. The objective of the Climate Panel project was to identify the measures that can be taken to reach the emission reduction targets of transport in a cost-efficient way.
The national core curricula for basic education and general upper secondary education in Finland have undergone revisions. New curricula will be taken into use during autumn 2016. The Finnish Climate Panel project examined how climate change as a multidisciplinary phenomenon and its societal effects were manifested in the national core curricula and in different school subjects. The methods and realization of climate education in other levels of education were also examined.
Community structure has an obvious impact on GHG emissions. It is important that the built environment is designed, constructed and maintained in a way that supports low-carbon choices. Intelligent energy networks and enhancing traffic promote energy efficiency and reduce emissions. In the building stock, changes in energy use have long-term effects. Simply by investing in the energy efficiency of the building stock, it is possible to cut down energy consumption by more than 20% and halve CO2 emissions.
In terms of emissions, the most significant consumer choices concern habitation, using a private vehicle and diet. In habitation, the best way to reduce emissions is to start using new technology and pay attention to personal habits. To reduce traffic emissions, it is important to reduce the distances travelled by private vehicle. Minimising food waste and having a diet with plenty of vegetables are economical ways to reduce emissions. To increase compensation, the report proposes a clear national system. Without any dramatic change in lifestyle, a consumer can halve the emissions caused by habitation, mobility and diet through personal choices.
Soot, that is, black carbon is one of the most important factors affecting climate change. In Finland, the climate effect of black carbon is primarily caused by the early melting of snow and ice. From a climate point of view, emission reduction measures during the winter are considerably more effective than during the summer. In Finland, small-scale wood burning is the largest source of black carbon emissions, and no emission regulations for it exist. Small-scale wood burning also poses a danger to health. Emission reductions of small-scale wood burning could be improved through technical means and education. The reductions would benefit the climate and people’s health.
In common language, the term “carbon neutrality” is used to describe a situation where an action does not cause climate change. Preventing a dangerous change in global temperature requires affluent countries to deliver negative GHG net emissions at some point. To measure the effect on emissions, different calculation rules are used in municipalities, regions and international politics. An international standard is required to pursue carbon neutrality in cities and other areas. As there is no international standard in the works for the cities’ and regions’ pursuit of carbon neutrality, it is important for transparency that the direct and indirect emissions from non-land use changes, carbon offsets and changes are presented separately in reporting. In this report, the Climate Panel analyses the concept of carbon neutrality and clarifies its usage.
The report examines current issues in climate policy from the EU’s and Finland’s points of view. Accomplishing the ambitious international climate agreement to be negotiated in 2015 will require target-oriented climate policy from the EU. For instance, the Emissions Trading System initiated by the EU is the only credible global policy instrument. The EU should reinforce the role of emissions trading by setting a strict emission reduction target for 2030. Energy efficiency and renewable energy measures must be planned in a way that does not undermine the effect of emissions trading. Food security must be taken into account in biofuel production. It is justifiable to decrease oil use faster by applying national measures. Shale gas keeps the market price of coal low and steers towards coal use instead of gas.
Traffic included, energy use causes approximately 80 % of Finland’s GHG emissions. Energy production and consumption form a complex system, where changes, such as emission limitation measures, in a single subsector often affect other subsectors and even emissions in other countries. The report handles three key fields: the impact of increased forest bioenergy on overall emissions, combined heat and power production and heat pumps in the energy system of buildings, and distributed energy systems of the built environment.
The energy system and emission reduction measures (January 2013)
The report examines different alternatives for climate regulation. A Climate Change Act would increase the predictability of climate change policy and unify fragmented regulation. In addition to the emissions trading sector and the non-emissions trading sector, the Climate Change Act should cover the land use sector (LULUCF). The Panel would recommend using a framework model law, which, alongside administrative information guidance, would create a link to climate regulation detailed in special enactments. The model would manage legislation most efficiently and provide public officials with an overall picture of the key issues. The Act would increase the transparency of climate policy and also make political actions more acceptable to the public.
The Panel’s report on the Climate Change Act (October 2012)