The Finnish general elections are drawing closer! Which political decisions are needed to stop climate change? What do the Finnish parties plan to do about it? Find out in Spark’s climate-friendly election guide!
In order for society to become carbon neutral, structural changes are needed to enable or speed up the transition. In this guide, we have selected three topics which are essential from a climate point of view, and dug deeper into the parties’ views in these areas.
Since political decisions can make it easier or harder for us to make sustainable decisions, voting is one of the most important climate actions we can take. Here, we guide you through the jungle of political agendas and help you select a party that shares your values in relation to climate change!
Most of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from our use of energy, and we use in three different forms: as electricity, as heat and as fuel for transport.
Out of these three, the transport sector is the one that requires the most fundamental changes to make carbon neutral. The use of biofuels will play a large role in e.g. heavy traffic but these fuels are impossible to produce in such amounts that they would cover the demand of the world’s passenger cars. For this reason, electrification of the passenger traffic is essential. It does however require large infrastructural changes, which means we need to get to work now.
Passenger cars stand for 10% of Finland's GHG emissions today. But this number can be decreased by 35% – Cost-effectively – if we increase the number of electric vehicles (SITRA, 2018).
60% of Finnish GHG emissions come from producing electricity and heat by burning fossil fuels (Statistics Finland, 2019). In order for Finland to become carbon neutral (a state where we only produce as much emissions as the carbon sinks can absorb), we need to switch to renewable or GHG emission-free energy sources. Such sources are for instance wood-based fuels (e.g. pellets), wind, sun, hydropower, wave power, geothermal power and nuclear power.
Finland would benefit from more wind power and a switch to biomass in co-generation. These are the most cost-efficient ways to lower emissions from heat& electricity (SITRA, 2018).
Because it is impossible to sustain a completely emission-free society (even the basic societal function of feeding a population causes carbon emissions), carbon sinks that offset the emissions we emit are in a central role for stopping climate change.
According to the latest research, the amount of forest that could sustainably be felled annually in Finnish forests is 80 million cubic metres. However, earlier assessments have varied greatly and therefore there is some uncertainty connected to this. 2017 saw 72 million cubic metres felled.
Growing forests act as active carbon sinks, while older forests act as carbon storages.
We compiled a list of which parties have stated measures that are exceptionally good for the climate in the Finnish version of this blog post – find more info there!