The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Finland Set to Become First Country in the World to Ban Coal
"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 of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn told Reuters.
This is all part of Finland's ambitious target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.
"Giving up coal is the only way to reach international climate goals," Rehn added.
According to The Independent, the "Energy and Climate Strategy for 2030 and Beyond" is the country's plan to phase out coal within 14 years. Finland aims to turn its energy production carbon-neutral by 2050 with plans to switch its traditional energy sources to biofuels and renewable energy.
The strategy will be presented to the Finnish parliament for approval in March.
Currently, Finland gets only 8 percent energy from coal, mostly imported from Russia. Renewable sources and nuclear make up 45 percent and 34 percent respectively.
However, Finland's plan appears to be much more strict. According to ZME Science, "In countries such as France or the UK where coal will be phased out, there will still be some leeway that will allow the trading the coal for instance. With a ban in place, not only will be Finnish utilities be barred from producing energy from coal, it will also be illegal to import electricity that is made from it—that's an entirely radical approach, but one that has a lot of positive environmental implications."
"Basically, coal would disappear from the Finnish market," Peter Lund, a researcher at Aalto University, and chair of the energy program at the European Academies' Science Advisory Council, told New Scientist.
Of course, not everyone in Finland is happy with the plan.
"The discussion about prohibiting the use of coal under law is inexplicable," Jukka Leskelä, the managing director of Finnish Energy, told the Helsinki Times. "Such an effort would not succeed without offering substantial compensation [to energy producers]. I fail to understand how the central administration can spend so recklessly and be so unappreciative of the situation in the energy markets."
Transport and Communications Minister Anne Berner also told the Associated Press that the emission targets for the transport sector is "demanding."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Sierra Searcy
This week, progressive Democrats and youth advocates are launching a nationwide tour to win support for the Green New Deal. Though popular, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change has struggled to earn the endorsement of centrist Democrats in Rust Belt states like Michigan, the second stop on the tour.
Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. The official theme of Earth Day 2019 is 'Protect Our Species.' In honor of Earth Day, EcoWatch has kicked off a second photo contest. Show us what 'Protect Our Species' means to you. Maybe there's a tree you've always loved, or perhaps it's a photo of the bird you adore that always visits your yard. We're excited to see what species means a lot to you. Capture a moment and send it our way!
It's heartening, in the midst of the human-caused sixth mass extinction, to find good wildlife recovery news. As plant and animal species disappear faster than they have for millions of years, Russia's Siberian, or Amur, tigers are making a comeback. After falling to a low of just a few dozen in the mid-20th century, the tigers now number around 500, with close to 100 cubs — thanks to conservation measures that include habitat restoration and an illegal hunting crackdown.
By Jordan Davidson
The climate crisis has us spiraling towards higher temperatures while also knocking out marine life and insect species at an alarming rate that continues to accelerate. But, just how long will it take Earth to recover? A new study offers a sobering answer: millions of years.
By Jeremy Lent
Facing oncoming climate disaster, some argue for "Deep Adaptation" — that we must prepare for inevitable collapse. However, this orientation is dangerously flawed. It threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy by diluting the efforts toward positive change. What we really need right now is Deep Transformation. There is still time to act: we must acknowledge this moral imperative.
By Julia Conley
The equipment was towed across millions of miles of ocean for six decades by marine scientists, meant to collect plankton — but its journeys have also given researchers a treasure trove of data on plastic pollution.
The continuous plankton reporter (CPR) was first deployed in 1931 to analyze the presence of plankton near the surface of the world's oceans. In recent decades, however, its travels have increasingly been disrupted by entanglements with plastic, according to a study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday.