Finland To Be The First Phase Out Coal For Good

The Finnish government has announced plans to stop using coal, one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet, by 2030.

“Finland is well positioned to be among the first countries in the world to enact a law to ban coal … This will be my proposal,”

-Minister for Economic Affairs Olli Rehn told Reuters.

The Finnish ministry of economic affairs and employment let slip the news when it released its climate and energy strategy (link in Finnish) yesterday. Plenty of other countries, including the UK and France, are slowly phasing out coal. But Finland’s commitment is more concrete. Canada too announced last week that it would phase out coal by 2030.

“The Finnish Government has committed to reducing emissions from transport by 39 per cent relative to the levels of 2005. The transport sector currently produces roughly 11 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 40 per cent of all emissions covered by the emissions trading scheme, and will have to make up 3.6 million tonnes of the 6 million tonnes in emissions cuts the country has committed to delivering.”

While other nations have similar goals to becoming carbon neutral by 2050 –the UK and Canada have announced their own plans to phase out coal in the next 10 and 15 years respectively – not all of the plans are equal when it comes to banning the fossil fuel. The British and Canadian plans enable coal plants to keep operating as long as they’re equipped with carbon capture and storage – an approach that comes with considerably “more degrees of freedom”, energy policy researcher Peter Lund from Finland’s Aalto University told Sally Adee.

Last year, renewable sources accounted for 40 percent of all energy consumption in Finland and are estimated to reach 47 percent by 2030 under the proposed measures – just shy of the government target of 50 per cent.

“Utilising the potential of Finnish renewable energy to produce electricity at an industrial level is one of the central questions in achieving long-term energy and climate goals,”

-Finland’s Economic Affairs Minister Oli Rehn said on Thursday.

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