Finland has established itself as one of the most progressive countries in the entire world - and that has once again been evidenced by Helsinki's latest proposal to combat climate change. A proposal tabled at making the capital city carbon-neutral by 2035 - was unanimously passed by Helsinki City Council.
Finnish authorities had previously suggested a 2050 date for carbon neutrality - but this sweeping new proposal now aims to make Helsinki reach its environmental and climate goal targets by 2035. It has been disclosed that the city hopes to have achieved a 60% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions between the timeline of 1990-2030.
In addition to this, it is hoped that the innovative strategy will cement Helsinki's status as the world's most ‘functional city' - that ensures sustainable growth as well as providing a high quality way of life for its citizens and residents.
Helsinki's Mayor Jan Vapaavuori buoyantly declared that the city should assume a pioneering role globally - describing climate change as one of the biggest challenges of our time, the mayor stated, "Helsinki should be a forerunner in finding local solutions for climate action."
Helsinki's climate expert has claimed that the city will now immediately have to start implementing new measures in order to reduce emissions compared with those undertaken up until now. Current policies in place will ensure Helsinki exceeds its target for 2020 - which is to cut greenhouse emissions by 30%.
However, it's in the area of transportation that climate analysts have predicted that the city will make its biggest strides. It has been claimed that they will reduce emissions by a whopping 55% due to the introduction of electric vehicles and biofuels. The Finnish government has also aggressively promoted making its own public transportation system ‘emission free' by 2020 - by investing in marketing campaigns that promotes walking, cycling and taking public transportation by rail.
However, it has been made clear that if Helsinki wants to become carbon-neutral by 2035, then it has to suspend coal from its energy palette - and more than likely will have to abandon natural gas at a later juncture. That measure would be in line with that of an overall initiative from the Finnish government which is to ban the burning of coal for energy, becoming the first nation in the world to do so.
Helsinki's climate goals are in line with those of other Nordic capitals and markedly exceed the goals set by the EU, which seeks 40 percent cuts in member countries by 2030 and 80-95 percent cuts by 2050 from 1990 levels.