First Climate Lawsuit in Finland Challenges Government’s Climate Law Compliance
Finland is facing a legal challenge from environmental groups alleging the government is in breach of its obligations under a new climate law. According to Greenpeace, it is the first climate litigation to arise in the Nordic country.
Greenpeace Norden and the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation filed an administrative appeal in late November arguing that the state had failed to take or consider additional measures to ensure it would meet its emissions reduction targets, which would be necessary given the collapse of Finland’s carbon sinks. Heavy logging and lack of forest protections has turned the land sector from a carbon sink or absorber of CO2 to a source of carbon emissions, threatening the government’s ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
That goal is enshrined in Finland’s new climate law, the Climate Change Act. Under this law, Finland must adopt plans or policies to reach its climate commitments and do annual assessments to report on progress The law sets emissions reduction targets for 2030, 2040, and 2050 and includes a goal of strengthening carbon sinks. As explained in a Greenpeace press release: “The collapse of Finland’s carbon sinks in 2021 has created a situation where the government’s climate policy plans are insufficient for meeting the Climate Act’s targets.”
Finland’s annual report for 2022, the lawsuit argues, failed to take into account additional measures needed to address the loss of carbon sinks. This violates the state’s obligations under the Climate Change Act, plaintiffs say.
“Finland has science-based climate goals and a climate law that is meant to ensure that the goals are reached. Finns can be proud of that. But now the government has neglected its legal duty to assess the adequacy of action and, as needed, to decide on additional measures, sufficient to meet the goals,” said Greenpeace Norden’s Senior Climate Policy Advisor Kaisa Kosonen. This is why it’s our duty as NGOs to seek for a court ruling on this.”
The lawsuit was filed with Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court.
Leave a Reply.