The law sets emission reduction goals for the years 2030, 2040 and 2050. The goal of making Finland carbon neutral by 2035 at the latest is now stipulated in the law for the first time. The law regulates climate policy plans, and with the reform, the law was expanded to cover the land use sector. The law also included a goal to strengthen carbon sinks.
Now the new climate act is being supplemented with regulations regarding municipalities’ climate plans and review requests. The goal is to strengthen climate work in municipalities and improve the realization of legal protection.
According to the Minister of Environment and Climate Maria OhisaloThe municipalities’ climate plans significantly enhance climate work throughout Finland.
“Many Finnish municipalities already have more ambitious national climate goals, and with this new law, all municipalities are involved in building a carbon-neutral Finland. Municipalities do not have to make climate plans alone, and especially smaller municipalities should seek cooperation within the region in the preparation of plans,” says Ohisalo.
Municipalities’ climate plans should at least set a goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the municipality and define measures to reduce emissions. The plan can also include goals and measures related to adaptation and swallowing.
Municipalities would be granted state grants to finance the process of drawing up plans. In its spring 2022 framework discussion, the government decided to allocate approximately 2.6 million euros per year to the preparation of municipalities’ climate plans.
The municipality must prepare a climate plan or update the plan at least once during the council term. The plan is approved by the municipal council.
A guide to supporting municipal work
Municipalities play a key role in curbing climate change, because they make important decisions, e.g. land use, traffic planning, energy production and procurement activities.
The Ministry of the Environment is preparing practical guidance for municipalities to support the preparation of climate plans. The guide should be completed in the spring of 2023. The guide helps municipalities prepare plans that meet the minimum requirements set by law, but it also provides information on how the plans can be made even more ambitious.
The request for review of plans in accordance with the Climate Act was clarified
According to the government’s proposal, provisions on clarifying the appeal procedure are intended to be included in the law. Currently, the Climate Act does not contain provisions on the appeal procedure for decisions made under the Climate Act. This has led to an unclear legal situation regarding whether climate policy plans can be requested to be audited and which parties would have the right to appeal under the Administrative Jurisdiction Act.
According to the proposal, the rectification claim would concern, among other things, the person whose right, obligation or interest may be expressly affected by the effects of climate change or actions related to climate change mitigation or adaptation. The parties who are entitled to apply for a rectification request to the Government’s decisions regarding climate policy plans under the Climate Act can do so by appealing to the Supreme Administrative Court.
The law will enter into force on January 1, 2023.
Source: Ministry of the Environment
Source: The Nordic Page