Regions play an important role in steering climate work – the most effective measures have been compiled into model road maps

News 2022-08-31 at 10:47
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Regional climate work supports and brings together local actors in the implementation of practical climate action. The Finnish Environment Institute together with the Natural Resources Institute Finland, the University of Tampere and the Finnish Meteorological Institute, examined the most effective climate emission reduction measures in the newly published climate road maps of seven regions in Finland. The aspects related to adaptation were also considered. The most effective measures were grouped together into regional model roads maps.

The survey examined the climate road maps of South Karelia, Pirkanmaa, North Ostrobothnia, Päijät-Häme, Satakunta, Uusimaa and Southwest Finland completed in 2021.

Resources should be concentrated on the most effective actions

Resources in regions and municipalities available for allocating in climate work are often limited, so it is important to focus them on the most effective actions.

Critical actions to reduce fossil fuel emissions include reducing energy use and increasing energy efficiency, significantly increasing the share of low-emission energy, and purely electrifying heating, transport and industrial processes. At the land-use sector, the important measures for reducing emissions include controlling emissions of peatland fields and forests and preventing deforestation.

With regards to clean energy production, the tasks of regional actors such as regional councils, Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) and development organisations include, for example, the zoning of wind power areas, the development of permit processes and the promotion of cooperation, expertise and funding of key operators.City planning impacts transport emissions. In order to reduce emissions from buildings, regional actors may encourage property owners in the region to undertake energy renovations.

“With regard to the effectiveness of climate work, it is essential that the emission reduction measures of regional climate road maps proceed reliably and quickly into practical implementation. It is critical that the implementing organisations have sufficient resources to implement the road maps. Concrete investments have a strengthening effect on regional and municipal economy,” says Laura Saikku, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute.

The implementation of climate action also requires the state, municipalities, companies and citizens

The region provides the framework for climate work, but its implementation is ultimately the responsibility of the municipal organisations, companies, residents of the region, as well as building owners, and land owners. In addition to these, business associations, the state and research organisations play a key role in achieving the results. Municipal organisations act as an enabler for investments in clean energy production through zoning and permits. The municipality is responsible for the energy efficiency of its existing buildings and for ensuring that the procurement criteria for low-carbon construction are taken into account in construction and renovation projects. With regard to traffic, the municipal level can have a particular impact on the community structure and the conditions for walking, cycling and public transportation.

In order to promote the climate work of the regions, action at the national level is also required. Taxation, investment aid, aid for research and development, and permit regulation enable efficient investments in energy production and efficiency and guide the purchase and use of vehicles.

Effective climate action with regard to forests focuses on measures and policies in private forests that affect forest owners' own decision-making. As forest owners, public actors are well-placed to be pioneers and trailblazers in increasing the climate-friendliness of forest management more broadly.

As agricultural practices are strongly driven by support policies and related funding, many of the actions identified in the road maps require support from EU and national policies in order to be implemented. In addition, landowners' decisions have a major impact on soil carbon sequestration, for example. Municipalities, on the other hand, can exert an influence through municipal food purchases.

Investing in the links between climate change mitigation and adaptation measures

Climate road maps in the regions highlight climate change mitigation. However, the links between climate change mitigation and adaptation measures need also to be recognised. The progress of climate change poses significant risks to people, businesses and the environment. These risks may hamper the achievement of sustainable development goals. Climate change mitigation and adaptation are essential for regional economies and for the health and safety of people.

Model road maps lay the foundations for successful climate work

The study produced model road maps that regional actors can use in their future climate planning.

The model road maps have compiled the most effective climate change mitigation and adaptation measures, which are part of the whole sustainability transition. Model road maps also include suitable indicators and expert assessments of the effectiveness of individual packages of measures to support the practical monitoring of climate work.

“In the implementation phase of climate road maps or programmes, it is important to continue an inclusive way of working in which the regions promote climate action in cooperation with national and local stakeholders,” says Saikku.

Read the report

Further information

Senior Research Scientist Laura Saikku, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, tel. +358 (0)400 148 771,


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