Factors influencing Finland climate policy

The European and international context of Finnish climate policy

Climate change is a global environmental problem that requires international cooperation in order for it to be successfully tackled. For this reason, both the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the EU play a key role in shaping Finland’s climate policy.

From the perspective of Finland’s citizens, the decision-making processes at UN and EU level may feel distant, which may contribute to weakening the legitimacy of these decisions. From a national perspective, the transparency of international and EU processes is often limited, and getting an opportunity to influence these processes is challenging.

The 2035Legitimacy project seeks to find means of improving the transparency of international and EU climate processes, identifying ways to influence them either nationally or directly at EU and UN levels.

EU decision-making transparency, or rather the lack of it, has been studied, but less from the perspective of climate issues specifically.

The EU regulations regarding the Aarhus Convention are currently being amended, increasing the importance of up-to-date research.

Finnish experiences can benefit other countries

The goals of the Paris Agreement are the same for all countries, and many countries around the world have started implementing a national transition towards carbon neutrality.

Finland has the chance to share its experiences on how a democratic society and a Nordic welfare state can make a just transition to become a carbon neutral state. At the same time, Finland can learn from other countries.

The 2035Legitimacy project practises international interaction in a number of ways. The project communicates and interacts with broader Nordic, European and global audiences, providing opportunities for exchanging experiences, mutual learning, and wider commentary on the discussions carried out in Finland.

At a practical level, the project researchers conduct research visits to destinations abroad, present the project and their research at international events, and publish and discuss their work on international forums.

The project has a number of international partners, including members of the advisory board, that are actively engaged in the project. The project is also planning to organise stakeholder events in Brussels with the support of a local partner.

National climate goals and policies are sometimes opposed with the argument that Finland’s share of global greenhouse gas emissions is insignificant.

This is true, but this perspective ignores the fact that the Finnish per capita carbon footprint is considerably high. Under the UN, it has also been agreed that industrial countries take the leading role in fighting climate change. This takes into account the fact that industrial countries have a historical responsibility for the climate problem.

Science can be used to help generate acceptability with regard to climate policies.

Using climate science, you can verify the impacts of emission reduction measures already in use and also evaluate the measures’ future impacts on both the emissions and their adverse health effects, for example.

Enhanced understanding of the climate impacts of Finland’s carbon neutrality goal and the accompanying co-benefits support and concretise Finnish climate policy’s fairness and acceptability.