Finland to pursue a legal ban on coal by 2030
Posted on 01 December 2016
WWF welcomes this ambitious move by Finland and calls on other European countries to quickly follow suit in line with their Paris Climate Agreement commitments.The Finnish government yesterday introduced a ban, with some exemptions, on coal use in energy production by 2030 to the Finnish Parliament. WWF welcomes this ambitious move by Finland and calls on other European countries to quickly follow suit in line with their Paris Climate Agreement commitments.
“By completely banning coal from its energy system, Finland is a front runner not only in Europe, but also globally. Burning coal is the largest single contributor to climate change and its impacts on the health of our citizens are catastrophic”, said Darek Urbaniak, Energy Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office.
Analysis by NGOs of 257 of 280 coal-fired power plants in the EU found that their 2013 emissions caused over 22,900 deaths, tens of thousands of illnesses from heart disease to bronchitis, and up to €62.3 billion in health costs.
"Just one year after Europe has committed to bold action on climate change in Paris, it is high time that other EU countries put their money where their mouth is and phase out dirty coal,” added Darek Urbaniak.
The coal ban is part of Finland’s "Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030 and Beyond," that aims to cover 55% of Finland’s energy needs with renewables by 2030, halve the use of imported oil and introduce a blending mandate of 30%. A large part of the replacement of traditional power sources will be met with bioenergy.
“As a symbolic gesture, phasing out coal through a legal instrument is indeed to be applauded. However, as coal exits our energy mix we must ensure course-correction to avoid the bioenergy trap,” said Kaarina Kolle, Climate and Energy Officer at WWF Finland. “Finland’s coal plants are likely to be replaced by peat and biomass if new measures are not introduced. We need to make sure that fossil-comparable peat is also excluded from the energy mix and that more pressure is not put on forests. Burning more trees not only drastically reduces the Finnish carbon sinks that are direly needed to meet the 1.5 and 2 degrees climate goals but also threatens the Finnish biodiversity”.
The ban will not cover industrial use and coal can still be used under exceptional circumstances and if security of supply cannot be guaranteed.
Climate & Energy Senior Media and Communication Officer
WWF European Policy Office
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