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Etla: Finland Unlikely to Meet Carbon Neutrality Target

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Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions will decrease at an annual rate of about four percent over the period of 2023-2027, not enough to keep the country on track for carbon neutrality by 2035.

That’s according to an emission forecast published on Monday by the Finnish Institute for Economic Research (Etla).

Etla’s report noted that emissions fell by more than nine percent in 2020, mainly because the coronavirus pandemic led to a sginificant reduction in air and maritime traffic, as well as in private motoring. Emissions from energy production also clearly decreased at that time.

Although the economy recovered following the pandemic, emissions remained at the 2020 level. Last year, emissions decreased by more than four percent.

Ville Kaitila, a researcher in Etla’s forecasting group, says that greenhouse gas emissions are concentrated in certain industries and the use of fossil fuels in general.

“During the current year, among other things, the production of emission-free electricity has clearly increased. The biggest impact on the development of emissions has continued to be the reduction of energy supply emissions,” Kaitila writes in a Monday press release.

The emission forecast is based on Etla’s projections of industry-specific production, household consumption and projected technological development.

Carbon sinks diminishing

The Etla report indicates that the target enshrined in in the Climate Act, according to which Finland is to be carbon neutral by 2035, will not be met.

In addition to emissions from industrial production activities, Etla’s forecast examines emissions from the land use sector, which includes forest land, cropland, grasslands, wetlands, built-up areas and wood products.

The total effect of carbon sinks in this sector has clearly decreased over the past decade. The amount of deforestation directly affects the figures of the entire land use sector. Forests are still an emission sink, but their impact is smaller than before.

In addition, agricultural lands, in particular, release a considerable amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Although industrial emissions have decreased relatively steadily, Finland’s net emissions have remained static. However, net emissions should be reduced to zero by 2035 if the goal of carbon neutrality is to be achieved. It can already be seen that with current trends, it will not succeed,” Kaitila notes.

According to Etla, the use of fossil fuels should be further reduced. In addition, production should be changed over to lower emissions technology and carbon sinks should be expanded.

Source: Yle

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