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Helsinki’s emissions not dropping fast enough to meet 2030 horizon

Helsinki’s emissions not dropping fast enough to meet 2030 horizon

As a response, the authorities of the Finnish capital have decided to update the local Carbon Neutral program

Helsinki is one of Europe’s 100 Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities that have taken up the challenge to get to net zero by 2030. Recent news from the Finnish capital, however, showed that the progress in emission reductions is way too slow and if maintained the ambitious goal will not be reached.

In response, the authorities have met today to discuss the proposal to update the Carbon Neutral Helsinki program in accordance with the guidelines of a new strategy. The climate plan was first introduced in 2018 but it is already seen as insufficient in its scope to instigate a deep enough impact.

By 2021, emissions reduction rate was only 33%

"Emissions are trending in the right direction, but far too slow. In order to reach the goals, actions must be taken more effectively and purposefully. The city is strongly committed to climate goals and takes them seriously. Now we have to dare to prioritize effective actions", says Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, director of the emission reduction program, as quoted in a municipal press release.

By 2021, the emission reduction achieved was 33 percent. In fact, compared to 2020, there was no change in that aspect.

The renewed logic of the program is based on effectiveness – it prioritizes actions that lead to direct emission reductions and where the city itself has the most influence. These include especially movement, construction and energy solutions.

In terms of traffic emissions, the goals have not been reached in many respects and will not be reached with the current measures. In the updated program, it is presented so that the city will find out in more detail what are the most effective means of reducing traffic emissions within its own decision-making power.

Other measures proposed for 2022 include, for example, adjusting the ventilation of the city's offices as needed, using low-emission concrete in infrastructure projects, changing the light sources of outdoor lamps to LED lamps and developing regional heating solutions.

Within the framework of the Carbon Neutral Helsinki program, the city has already significantly promoted, among other things, the energy efficiency of buildings, and the work will continue. The new and renovated service buildings are built to be energy efficient, and the use of geothermal and solar energy is promoted in construction projects. 

When the city plans and hands over plots of land for the construction of apartment buildings, the buildings are required to have an A energy class. The city has also started offering housing associations free advice on promoting energy renovations.

The goal of the Carbon Neutral Helsinki program is to have at least 80 percent of the direct emissions of the reference year 1990 reduced by 2030, and the rest, a maximum of 20 percent, can be compensated.



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