EU's climate and energy policy is largely in line with Finnish targets

Government Communications Department

Prime Minister Katainen: EU's climate and energy policy is largely in line with Finnish targets

(Translation: original published in Finnish 22.1.2014)

Today, the European Commission published the EU's new climate and energy policy goals. The Commission proposes that greenhouse gas emissions be lowered by 40 percent by 2030, while the target for renewable energy be raised to 27 percent. While this target would be binding at EU level, no targets would be set for individual Member States. Neither would any new energy efficiency targets be set at this stage. In addition, the Commission has proposed amending the Emissions Trading Directive.

”While the Commission has been preparing its proposal, we have continually been involved, giving our input at every possible level. The Commission has fully understood Finland's position, that we can only achieve our key climate and energy policy goals with the greatest possible cost-efficiency by setting a single, binding target,” states Prime Minister Katainen.

The newly announced targets are intended to replace the current ones for 2020, based on which the EU committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent while raising the share of renewable energy to, and improving energy efficiency, by the same figure. These targets are highly likely to be met within the EU.

Internal discussions of emission reduction targets in the EU also form part of its preparations for international climate negotiations. A new global climate change agreement is under preparation, looking towards a decision in Paris in December 2015.

The EU's key positions will be discussed between Heads of State at the European Council in late March (20-21 March). Before then, the Government intends to engage in a close analysis of how the proposed measures would impact on Finland and its industrial competitiveness. It will also examine how effective the associated targets would be in mitigating climate change. Climate change could have a dramatic cost impact on Finland too.

”Finland has already undergone a long period of sluggish growth. It is important that we carefully assess the effects of the Commission's proposals, particularly on energy production and our energy-intensive industry, before a decision is made. However, I believe that stricter climate change targets could also provide Finland with new opportunities, particularly in the cleantech sector. To make this work, we will need to harness every ounce of our innovation potential.”

During the preparation of the 2030 policy framework for climate and energy, the Commission assessed the risk of energy intensive industry transferring outside the EU, i.e. of carbon leakage. It is crucial that the EU be prepared to continue and develop its current measures to reduce the risk of carbon leakage, especially if a single global regime on emission reductions cannot be achieved in the forthcoming negotiations.

Finland regards it as crucial that the legislation to be drawn up on the basis of the climate and energy package does not prevent or hinder the development of the European market for second generation biofuels. It also attaches importance to the way in which the EU's climate policy takes account of land use and forestry.

Inquiries: Pasi Rajala, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister (EU Affairs), tel. +358 295 160 311 or +358 400 464 393