Finland becomes latest country to unveil climate change law

climate change law

Finland has become the latest country to propose legally binding emissions reduction targets. Creative Commons: Timo Newton-Syms, 2009

Finland has become the latest country to announce a new climate change act, setting a legally binding target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050.

The legislation – said to be broadly modelled on the UK’s Climate Change Act – sees the country’s existing emission reduction target to 2020 extended.

It will also require successive governments to produce mid-term climate protection plans, while long-term plans on how the country could decarbonise in line with the mid-century target will have to be set every 10 years.

The government will also be required to report to Parliament annually on climate adaptation measures.

While the law faced some opposition within the government recent polling suggested that nearly 80& of Finns support the legislation.

Environment Minister Ville Niinistö told the local Helsinki Times:

The climate change act is an attempt to establish Finland as a leader in low-carbon society. The current emissions targets, which extend until 2020, are simply not enough. We must plan for the society of 2050 today.

Finland will join a host of countries, including the UK, Ireland, South Korea, Mexico and Vietnam in setting legally binding carbon targets

The most recent country to join the ranks of those implementing national legislation is Denmark, where a climate change bill is set to pass into law this week.

The Danish Climate Change Act sets an ambitious target for the country to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2020 – double the EU’s existing target for this period.

The bill was announced in February and will receive its third and final hearing in the Danish Parliament today.

With the support from a cross-section of the political parties making up the country’s coalition government, the bill is expected to pass easily.

Last month, Denmark also took another step towards its lofty aim to be powered 100% by renewable energy by 2050, as the country’s Energy Agency set out four possible pathways to achieving such an aim.

The plans showed that the country could be completely reliant on renewables in the electricity and heat sector by 2035 and totally fossil free by 2050.

What’s more, all this is possible with existing technologies and is affordable, according to the analysis.

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