European Union Climate Goal: Finland Pushes for Technology-Neutral Approach, Increases Importance of Carbon Sinks

EU’s Kai Mykkänen on EU’s 2040 climate goal: “This will be a challenging journey”

In Brussels, the European Union’s environment ministers met to discuss the Union’s 2040 climate goal, proposed by the EU Commission in February. The goal is to achieve a 90 percent net emission reduction from the levels recorded in 1990, with a focus on both emission reductions and carbon removal.

The Commission’s actual legislative proposal will be made after the summer European elections. Finland supports the 90 percent net emission reduction target but with conditions. Minister of Environment and Climate Kai Mykkänen emphasized the importance of proceeding technology-neutrally and accepting nuclear power as a clean energy source. Additionally, incentives for technical carbon sequestration at the EU level should be put in place.

Despite uncertainties in the land use sector and challenges in defining clean energy sources, Finland believes in the potential of technical sinks to help achieve a net reduction increase of more than five million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The discussion at the Environmental Council marked the beginning of a long process towards reaching the 2040 climate goal, with a focus on cost-effective emission reductions and transitioning towards cleaner technologies.

Finland has accepted certain reservations about achieving this ambitious target with ease. However, Mykkänen acknowledged that achieving emission reductions would require significant changes in industry, particularly in sectors like steel and refinery. Carbon dioxide recovery in forest industry units was also highlighted as an important aspect of meeting these goals.

Sophia Reynolds

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