Climate change in Finland
Climate strategy 2001
Finnish national renewable energy program was done in 1999 and it was accepted as the national climate strategy in 2001. It included targets for the renewable energy but no limit in the use of the fossil and nuclear energy. The target can be compared to the EU Directive 2001/77/EU that also promoted renewable energy in the electricity production.
The government ordered the evaluation report, published in February 2003, from the Electrowatt-Ekono Oy that was part of Pöyry. Pöyry is a national and international company having tradition in the development and consulting of the forest industry. According to this evaluation report Finland’s national target was to increase during 1995-2010:
- Renewables of primary energy +36 TWh (achieved 1995-2001: 17 TWh)
- Renewables of electricity +8,35 TWh (achieved 1995-2001: 3,1 TWh)
- Bioenergy +33 TWh (achieved 1995-2001 16 TWh)
- Bioelectricity +6,2 TWh (achieved 1995–2001: 2,8 TWh)
- Hydropower +1 TWh (achieved 1995–2010, 23 TWh)
- Wind power +1.1 TWh (494 MW) (achieved 1995-2001 59 GWh 32 MW)
- Solar energy 50 GWh warming 50 GWh electricity 40 MW capacity (achieved 1995-2001 2 GWh 1 GWh 1,5 MW)
- Heat pumps 1 TWh (achieved 1995-2001 250 GWh)
Finland is a member of the European Union. The EU aims in the 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference a legally binding 40% drop in emissions by 2030 against carbon output in 1990 as baseline. 
In the Kyoto agreement Sweden was permitted lower emission decline targets based on Nuclear power phase-out. Respectively Finnish emission cut obligations may be increased based on higher nuclear dependency.
Fortum is half state owned energy company. Fortum energy strategy is large investments in the nuclear energy in Finland, Sweden and Russia. According to Financial Times Fortum aims to invest 15 per cent in a controversial Finnish nuclear power plant to be built by Rosatom, the Russian state-owned energy company. Fortum has saved no funds to invest in the new renewable energy forms. Until end of 2014 Finnish governments have given no obligations in the new renewables for companies, industry or municipals. Russia had interest to build and share own a nuclear plant in Finland in 2014 during the 2014 Russian military intervention in Ukraine and 2014 Crimean crisis. Unlike Finland most other European countries demanded to decline energy dependency from Russia.
The Finnish governments support nuclear energy by allocating majority of the risks, accident costs and nuclear waste costs to the tax payers. Finnish nuclear energy is informed to be risk free. According to Helsingin Sanomat reporting same assurance had been given in Japan before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.
Finland was among the top five greenhouse gas emitters in 2001: The consumption emissions per capita of greenhouse gases in 2001 of the top 5 countries were US 29 tonnes, Australia 21 tonnes, Canada 20 tonnes, Switzerland 18 tonnes and Finland 18 tonnes.
European Union aims in 2014 demanding targets to decline emissions 40% from 1990 level to 2030. In Finnish traffic this goal demands decline from (Mtn CO2) 12.48 to 7.4. As linear reduction this objective is annual decline in value of 0.30 from the top year emission 13.36 in 2010. This objective equals maximum emission levels of 12,16 (2014) and 11,56 (2016). Finnish traffic warming emissions (million tonnes CO2) were:
- 1990 - 12,48
- 2008 - 13,42
- 2009 - 12,75
- 2010 - 13,36
- 2011 - 13,23
- 2012 – 12,68
In Katainen Cabinet minister Merja Kyllönen asked a leader of the multinational oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell representative as head of the committee to give recommendations for the future traffic policy in Finland.
Jyrki Katainen suggested in December 2014 EU to fund in Finnland a liquefied natural gas terminal while in respect to climate change challenge and ongoing 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference Katainen neglected initiatives in fossil-fuel phase-out.
Agreements and law
Finland is a member of the EU and thus the EU directives are binding in Finland. Finland has approved Kyoto protocol. Finnish government has approved that human indused greenhouse gases cause the global warming. Despite this the most harmful use of peat as energy has been financially promoted by Finnish government since 2005. Regarding the climate change expenses, the Polluter Pay -principle has been neglected in Finland at least until 2011.
Coal and peat
According to UNEP peatlands are the main carbon storage and their protection is one of the main issues in the climate change mitigation. Peat land drainage destroys the habitat of many species, and heavily fuels climate change. Peat is the most harmful energy source for global warming in Finland.
In conflict with the EU, IEA and IPCC reports Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry claim peat to be renewable energy. However, it is undisputed fact that peat is formed during 10,000 years in favourable conditions. Finland has ditched majority of its wetlands. The Finnish peat companies have had activity also abroad like in Sweden, Estonia and Indonesia. According to IEA country report the Finnish subsidies for peat in 2007-2010 undermined the goal to reduce CO2 emissions and counteracted The European Union emissions trading scheme.
The state owned research institute VTT director Satu Helynen had close connection with the peat industry in 2010. She proposed for the government to exclude carbon tax for peat in 2010. Moreover, she tried to suppress all the second opinions of her collegees in VTT in conflict with the freedom of speech and research ethics. After this conflict came public VTT wrote new directions following: "Scientists should prevent all criticism of the content of VTT publications publicly after the publications."
Extreme weather events
Summer 2010 storms (Asta 29.-30.7 Vera 4.8, Lahja 7.8 and Sylvi 8.8) caused widespread damages. Insurance companies paid 81.6 million € for the storm damages. Trees fell 9.1 million m3. 480 000 persons had power line brakes, max 6 weeks. 35 000 km of the power line was damaged. Compensations costs were over 10 million € for the power customers. Other power company costs included 18 million € for the repair and 4 million $ for extra investments. Co-operation between the responsible organizations and persons did not run effectively after the storms.
Storm Tapani hit Finland on St Stephen's Day 26.12.2011. The previous storm of this type in Finland was Janika in November 2001. A highest momentary gust on land was 31.5 m/s. On 27.12.2011 at highest over 300,000 homes had no electricity.
In 2013, autumn storm Eino resulted in over 200,000 homes becoming dark in Finland, ca 10% of families. Maximum wind speed was 27.3 m/s in land and 32.9 m/s in see.
Climate change by region
Uusimaa target is to be carbon zero in 2050. Lohja, Raasepori, Siuntio and Hanko have target to decline the emissions 80% from 2007 to 2030. In 2013 Uusimaa emissions were close to year 1995 level and in Uusimaa there was no decline in emissions since year 2007.
- UN climate change deal must have legally binding targets, says EU The Guardian 27.11. 2014
- Finland and Russia deepen energy ties Financial Times December 2, 2014
- Which nations are most responsible for climate change? Guardian 21 April 2011
- Liitetaulukko 3. Hiilidioksidipäästöt Suomessa 1990–2010
- Search emissions
- Peatlands are Quick and Cost-Effective Measure to reduce 10% of greenhouse emissions, UNEP 11.12.2007
- Jyri Seppälä, Kaisu Aapala, Kimmo Silvo and Raimo Heikkilä 2008: Muistio Suomen IPCC-ryhmän avoimesta Turpeen ilmastovaikutusten arviointi -seminaarista. Suomen ympäristökeskus
- Renewable energy sources and peat”, the Ministry of Trade and Industry KTM 10.3.2006 (Finnish)
- Energy Policies of IEA Countries – ¨Finland 2007 IEA 26.3.2008, pages 9, 71, 80 and 83
- VTT:n painostuspuheet eivät yllätä professoria, VTT on tarkentanut työntekijöidensä julkisuusohjeita, HS 27.8.2010 A10
- VTT:n johtajalla turvekytkös, Ministeriölle energiaveroraportin laatineen tutkijan tausta arveluttaa, Teknologiajohtajan esimies kiistää alaisensa edustavan turvelobbareita, HS 9.9.2010 A3
- VTT:n johtaja puolustaa jäsenyyttään turveyhdistyksessä, HS 10.9.2010 A5 Piia Elonen
- VTT:llä yhteys turvelobbareihin, Energiaselvityksen luotettavuudesta syntyi kohu HS 9.9.2010 A5
- ”Tukka nousi pystyyn”, Oikeusoppineet: VTT:n viestintäohje ristiriidassa perustuslain kanssa. Professori Mäenpään mukaan ”pimittämisohjeet rajoittavat sananvapautta, HS 10.9.2010 A5
- Åland Islands yield rare insect species Yle 29.11.2012
- HS Kesän 2010 rajuilmat saivat Suomen sekaisin HS 28.9.2011 A8
- Storm on St Stephen's Day was rare, Finnish Meteorological Institute 28.12.2011
- Sähköttä oli tiistaina pahimmillaan arviolta yli 300 000 kotia HS 28.12.2011
- Summer heat wave continues
- Officials warn heat could cause health problems
- Autumn storm Eino blows in, plunges over 200,000 homes in darkness yle 17.11.2013 and 18.11.2013 fi
- vähentäminen laahaa Uudellamaalla yle 6 February 2014