Issues related to justice of climate policies

are more topical and have more visibility than ever before.

The legitimacy and acceptability of climate policies are increasingly important

In the Paris Agreement, the international community has agreed on a global target to limit the global average temperature rise to 1.5/2°C and to reach global carbon neutrality by 2050, while taking into account that the transition in different countries will take place at different times and may take longer in developing countries.

Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement is very challenging but possible. Achieving them also requires essential changes across societies.

It is therefore increasingly important to ensure the legitimacy and acceptability of climate policies. Although the message of climate science is clear, you cannot restrict the activities of individuals and businesses from above in a democratic society without considering the acceptability of climate policy measures.

The acceptability of climate policies is linked to the different levels, institutions and processes of implementing the policies. An important role is also played by scientific knowledge, engagement and the participation of different actors and their experiences, especially those of citizens regarding the fairness and acceptability of the policy processes, the measures selected, and their impacts.

The perceived fairness of climate actions therefore has a crucial role in planning and implementing emission reductions.

Finland aims to be carbon neutral by 2035

In Finland, Sanna Marin’s government programme 2019–2023 includes the target for Finland to be carbon neutral by 2035 and carbon negative soon after that. These targets are shaped by the Finnish Climate Panel’s scientific analysis of Finland’s globally responsible contribution to reaching the goals set in the Paris Agreement.

Tools of the 2035Legitimacy project

The 2035Legitimacy project brings together researchers in the fields of law, economics, sociology, and climate science.

The project is truly multidisciplinary, pursuing collaboration and dialogue across different disciplines while examining legitimacy considerations in Finnish climate policy.

The core of the research consists of multi- and interdisciplinary research questions

Examples include joint empirical research by economists and sociologists combining econometric and survey methods to study the acceptability of climate policies amongst different actors. In the field of law, experts in international and EU law join forces to study, for example, how citizens and stakeholders are engaged in climate policy processes at multiple levels, taking the Aarhus Convention’s core principles as the starting point.

Central aspects in research collaboration include joint research questions, use of shared data, and meetings within the project across the work packages to plan research and find synergies, shared ideas, and new perspectives.

International agreements and EU climate policy set clear conditions for Finland

In practice, international and EU level climate policy plays an important role in Finland, yet little research has been conducted on the topic. The project seeks to address this gap by comprehensively examining the factors influencing the legitimacy of climate policy, also taking supranational levels and processes in decision-making into account.

The 2035Legitimacy project also explores how the key climate policy decisions made at international and EU level influence the legitimacy of Finland’s climate policy, the understanding of the climate impacts of Finland’s carbon neutrality policy, and the building of legitimacy by means of climate science.

What is ‘climate citizenship’ and what are the opportunities for citizens to participate in implementing climate policies?

Research looks for ways to support the emergence and realisation of climate citizenship, i.e. opportunities for public participation in the various climate policy processes.

The project will improve understanding of the concept of climate citizenship and its practical realisation in Finland.

Research will also shed light on how the role of citizens in climate issues is perceived at grassroots level and at different government levels respectively, and what kind of obstacles citizens face in accessing climate policy processes.