Climate change mitigation by aspiring to low carbon society

Although climate change is irreversible, its effects can still be mitigated. The key to mitigation is stopping the increase of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Cyclist
© Janne Ulvinen

Saving energy and promoting energy-efficiency are among the most cost-effective means of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Becoming a low carbon society requires actions in all areas of society. As much as half of the global emissions reduction target could be reached by making energy use more efficient.

Other important means of combatting climate change include adopting renewable energy sources, fostering carbon sinks, such as forests, and using natural resources more sustainably. Technological development plays a key role in the mitigation efforts. It may even enable modification of the climate, which is an interesting, yet a risky way of mitigating climate change.

In order to make climate actions more efficient, the links between mitigation and adaptation must be identified and exploited. Some links that enable us to achieve cost savings, health benefits and sustainable livelihoods, have already been identified. On the other hand, mitigation and adaptation actions may be in conflict at times.

Solutions through international and local cooperation

The goal of international cooperation is to limit the global temperature increase to two degrees, in order to keep the effects somewhat predictable and to prevent very disastrous effects.

International climate policies are based on the UN Climate Change Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and its mechanisms along with the related multilateral negotiations as well as the Paris Agreement.

As a member of the European Union, Finland is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Kyoto Protocol. The aim is further supported by the medium-term climate change plan ‘Towards Climate-Smart Day-to-Day Living', National Climate and Energy Strategy and the climate change act.

Climate actions of industries and municipalities are necessary steps along the way towards a carbon-neutral society. Currently, climate programmes are being drafted in cities and municipalities, and in these programmes, all municipal activities should be assessed from the point of view of climate.

Scientific assessment of the phenomenon and political actions

The sufficiency of international climate actions must be assessed on scientific grounds. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) supports political decision making in climate matters by compiling data on the background of climate change, its effects, and mitigation efforts. The First Assessment Report was released in 1990 and it served as the basis for the UN Climate Change Conference. The Fifth Assessment Report will be released in four sections in 2013–2014.

In Finland the national climate panel promotes dialogue between science and politics. The reports and comments of the panel are always based on scientific evidence.

Published 2013-10-28 at 13:44, updated 2017-09-25 at 14:24