Ambassador Keinänen in Diplomat Magazine: Towards a Climate Neutral Future

Ambassador Keinänen in Diplomat Magazine: Towards a Climate Neutral Future

As his country holds the current Presidency of the Council of the EU, Ambassador of Finland Markku Keinänen says even small countries like his can show leadership on climate issues

Climate change has wide-ranging impacts affecting all sectors of society. The message from the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was clear: we urgently need to increase our ambitions for climate action across world. The Finnish government takes this message very seriously.


Earlier this spring, the Climate Barometer 2019 looked into what Finns think about climate change and found that an ambitious climate policy is widely supported. Four out of five Finns thought urgent action is needed to mitigate climate change, and 70 per cent felt that the government should adopt effective policy measures to do this.

Finland’s sustainable development approach has succeeded in involving different societal groups. At our parliamentary election this spring the climate crisis was a top priority for Finnish voters. Therefore, it is no surprise that the combat against climate change and promoting sustainable growth are also at the very top of the government’s agenda.

Finland’s climate ambition is high: we aim to become carbon neutral by 2035 and carbon negative soon after. These goals and the 1.5 degrees target require hard work, but we believe we can achieve them by accelerating emission reduction measures and strengthening carbon sinks.

Our new, ambitious Government Programme (June 2019) includes a comprehensive set of climate measures and plans on how to fund them. The programme promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy, carbon sinks, a transition to a circular economy, and climate-friendly food policies, as well as sustainable building and city planning.

Finland’s domestic climate policy is largely based on the Climate Act from 2015. The Act established a planning scheme for a systematic and inclusive climate policy. The government is now looking to strengthen the Act, including setting targets for 2030 and 2040. We will also review our carbon neutrality target in 2025, to take into account for example, the latest scientific knowledge and technological advancements.

Finland’s middle-term climate policy plan was approved by the parliament in 2018. It covers a number of policy measures in various sectors such as transport, agriculture and heating of buildings. In the transport sector for example, we aim to reduce the use of fossil fuels by increasing the blending obligation of biofuels as well as by supporting digitisation and automation. In addition, Finland plans to phase out the energy use of coal: in February 2019, our parliament approved a law that bans coal in energy use by 2029. Finland is also investing in low-carbon, renewable energy and smart energy innovations and solutions.

Read the full article on and find out how Finland promoted these policies during its EU Presidency