Quantcast

Finland Set to Become First Country in the World to Ban Coal

Popular

The Finnish government has announced plans to stop using coal, one of the 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 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.

Finland is not the only country trying to stamp out coal—other European countries as well as Canada have similar plans. The state of Oregon also wants to phase out the carbon-polluting fuel.

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

Artist's conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS

Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS, as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Read More Show Less
Marcos Alves / Moment Open / Getty Images

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the 'emergency' use of the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres?

EcoWatch teamed up with Center for Biological Diversity via EcoWatch Live on Facebook to find out why. Environmental Health Director and Senior Attorney Lori Ann Burd explained how there is a loophole in the The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act under section 18, "that allows for entities and states to request emergency exemptions to spraying pesticides where they otherwise wouldn't be allowed to spray."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
View of downtown Miami, Florida from Hobie Island on Feb. 2, 2019. Michael Muraz / Flickr

The Democratic candidates for president descended upon Miami for a two-night debate on Wednesday and Thursday. Any candidate hoping to carry the state will have to make the climate crisis central to their campaign, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
A pumpjack in the Permian Basin. blake.thornberry / Flickr

By Sharon Kelly

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal featured a profile of Scott Sheffield, CEO of Pioneer Natural Resources, whose company is known among investors for its emphasis on drawing oil and gas from the Permian basin in Texas using horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pexels

By Craig K. Chandler

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

Read More Show Less
Denis Poroy / Getty Images

By Dan Gray

Processed foods, in their many delicious forms, are an American favorite.

But new research shows that despite increasing evidence on just how unhealthy processed foods are, Americans have continued to eat the products at the same rate.

Read More Show Less

By Sarah Steffen

With a profound understanding of their environmental surroundings, indigenous communities around the world are often cited as being pivotal to tackling climate change.

Read More Show Less