The climate crisis and biodiversity loss must be solved together

SDP's objective is to promote a rapid and comprehensive transition to ecologically, socially and economically sustainable societies in the entire European union and globally.

For this, we need to ensure that Finland reaches carbon neutrality by 2035,
the EU by 2050 the latest, and proceed to carbon negativity soon after that. Already in the next parliamentary term, we need plans to reduce emissions in the 2030’s and progress toward carbon negativity once the current target of 2035 has been reached. The plans must specify what the reduction pathway could be like, what policy instruments are selected and ensure the adequacy of the net carbon sink.

Alongside climate policy, preserving biodiversity is one of our main tasks. The use of natural resources must be sustainable in all of the EU. At the same time, the energy self-sufficiency of the union must be guaranteed.

The transition to zero-emission energy production is key from the points of view of both the climate and increasing the strategic autonomy of the EU. The goal should be an energy self-sufficient union that utilises renewable or zero-emission energy as soon as possible.

To reach the carbon neutrality target, ambitious policies that involve the central government, regions and municipalities as well as businesses and all citizens, too, must be implemented in the coming government term. To leave no-one behind, climate policy must be fair, the costs of climate actions must be distributed fairly, and the costs must be compensated to those with the least means. The progress is monitored regularly and the course is adjusted without delay if targets are not reached or uncertainties increase significantly.

Tackling the climate change is most expensive if it is done late. The most cost-effective actions must take precedence when prioritising emission reduction methods. Climate policy must be based on the latest research.

Giving up fossil fuels, strengthening sufficient carbon sinks, and a socially just transition to citizens are at the core of climate policy. Sufficient transition security must be guaranteed in the labour market and citizens’ resilience must be improved. Only climate policy that is supported by citizens can be sustainable in the long run.

In the coming years, intergenerational assessment must be included in the Climate Act. Finland’s new Climate Act must be on a sustainable basis from the point of view of intergenerational justice and a just transition so that no generation shall exceed its own fair share of the carbon budget at the expense of future generations. The evaluation of justice must be developed. The energy and climate strategy will be included in the Climate Act so that also this significant report will be regulated by law in the future, instead of it being dependent on political will like it is at the moment.

Regular climate impact assessments must be done for the state budget and economic policy. In the same way as we assess the employment impact of economic policy, we should also estimate the climate and environmental impacts of all economic policy. In addition, sector-specific climate plans are needed in more and more sectors. Plans in transport, housing and construction, land use, agriculture and forestry, and food production are extremely important.

The development of the necessary technology must be supported and sufficient funding allocated for green technology RDI investments. The work must be based on scientific information, and the national IPCC working group and the Finnish Climate Change Panel are allocated sufficient support.

The decision to abandon peat will be adhered to, taking into account the effects and time frame of Russia’s war of aggression.

It will be seen to that emissions trading works and emissions are reduced in the emissions trading sector. The emissions pathway to 2030 is realised if the price and taxation of emission rights significantly steer climate actions in the energy sector and also in process industries. However, emissions trading alone is not decisive, as carbon pricing is partly based on taxation as well. Taxation must also be able to prevent carbon leakage, that is, the shift of emissions to other countries.

We will stop biodiversity loss in Finland and reverse the negative trend

Nature is degrading also in Finland. According to the latest assessment of threatened species, the Red List, one out of nine species in Finland are now threatened. Of the biotopes in Finland, one in two are threatened. The number of threatened species and biotopes is the greatest in the South of the country where the number of species and pressures on land use are the greatest. Finns’ consumption causes climate emissions and biodiversity loss also outside of the Finnish borders, where a large part of goods consumed here are produced.

Nature policy needs a clear legislative framework and targets, like the instruments in climate policy. A Nature Act, similar to the Climate Act, could be a good way to guarantee the implementation of nature policy.

The actions of the National Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 must be carried out systematically. The objective of the Biodiversity Strategy is to stop biodiversity loss and reverse the negative trend by 2030. The strategy enhances the protection of biodiversity and promotes the restoration of degraded ecosystems. In addition, methods to measure the actions and their impacts will be developed. The strategy and action plan will be linked to the objectives set internationally and within the EU.

Alongside sustainable forest management, sufficient carbon sinks and sufficient protection of forests will be seen to. The Forest Act must be reformed so that the objectives of the act serve the sustainable solution of both the climate and biodiversity challenges. Finland also needs a national plan for the restoration of mires. It is an effective way to target nature conservation funds regionally and, when implemented broadly enough, it supports a just transition away from the use of peat.

Climate change mitigation and water conservation go hand in hand. A warming climate increases rains and leaching of nutrients into water bodies. Conservation of nearby waters is part of protecting the Baltic Sea because the loading in water bodies eventually ends up in the Baltic Sea. The poor condition of the Archipelago Sea, which has not improved despite several actions, is a black spot in the Baltic Sea.

The work to get the Archipelago Sea off the Helcom Hot Spots list in 2027 must continue. It is vital that funding and actions are targeted correctly and to the most effective measures. The problem is that the funding is not earmarked and measures are implemented on a voluntary basis, which requires initiative from regional stakeholders.

We will reduce citizens’ carbon footprint in a socially just way

Sustainable consumption must be made easy for people. The target must be that when a consumer goes into a shop, no particular consideration is needed to make ethically and environmentally sustainable purchase decisions. Strict EU-wide standards must be imposed on the production of material goods, such as textiles, to obligate companies to produce durable, ecological and ethical goods. The EU, and Finland at the forefront, must aim at stopping production that is unsustainable from the climate viewpoint. Sustainable recycling and production of textiles must be advanced in Finland.

Awareness of the environmental and climate impacts of everyday choices must be increased. The society is responsible for the demands set by legislation, but also producers and production must bear responsibility. Citizens must have enough information to make sustainable consumption decisions. The most relevant explanatory factor in a person’s carbon footprint is their income level. Citizens’ carbon footprint must be decreased so that the measures are targeted fairly and focus on the top end of income distribution.

The starting point must be that consumables, such as electronics, clothes or household appliances, must be repairable and repairing them must be easy and affordable enough. The business environment for various repair services must be supported. For example, in an added value system based on sustainable development, a lower value added tax rate may be applied to repair services.

The measures of the national Climate-friendly Food Programme, aiming to reduce the climate footprint of consumed food and increase understanding of food production, must be implemented systematically.

Targets must be set for the reduction of consumption-based emissions and they must be supported through concrete measures and monitoring. Consumption-based emissions outside of Finland must be addressed better, for example, through taxation. Reducing emissions caused by import requires means to steer households and the public sector to reduce consumption and favour goods with a small carbon and material footprint.

The climate and environmental crisis cannot be solved without money

In accordance with the commitments of the UN Convention on Climate Change, Finland’s public international climate finance must be increased. We commit to the implementation of the obligations of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and increase the required funding.

Finland must act unconditionally to promote the obligations of the international conventions it has signed.

In the coming government term, international climate finance must be based on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Plan for the Implementation of Finland’s Public International Climate Finance extending to 2026. In 2026, the implementation of the plan should be assessed and the plan updated to 2030. Also over the next years, public climate finance must be kept at least at the level reached.

Finland must significantly increase its budget funded climate finance as part of the development cooperation budget and strengthen, in particular, its funding for the climate funds of the Climate Convention. Climate finance may be complemented and strengthened also through new financial instruments aimed at increasing private climate investments so that they respond to the needs of the recipient country.

It must be ensured that funding for nature conservation remains at least at the level of the 2019–2023 term and it must be raised, whenever possible. The Helmi habitats programme and the METSO Forest Biodiversity Programme for Southern Finland are continued and their funding guaranteed. The programme to enhance the effectiveness of water protection is continued and its funding guaranteed.