Finnish cities want to set an example to the world
Under the Paris Climate Conference also the climate network of the mayors of the six largest cities in Finland decided to tighten their climate co-operation and to participate in international climate networks.
The cities will develop uniform ways of reporting emissions, analyzing climate risks, fighting climate change, and creating adaptation programmes. All the cities also make their own roadmaps for fighting and adapting to climate change.
Turku has been participating in the Covenant of Mayors commitment since 2010 and is preparing for joining the Compact of Mayors commitment. The aims and actions of Turku meet the requirements of both commitments.
The aim of the international climate negotiations in Paris was to establish a new global climate agreement. The new agreement was built on the countries’ local starting points. In practice this means that each country announces the emission reductions they can commit to after 2020. Cities and their climate and energy solutions play an important role in defining and realizing climate goals.
Development Manager of the City of Turku Risto Veivo, CEO of Turku Energia Risto Vaittinen, and Director of Sitra Mari Pantsar presented the energy system reform project of Turku in the Cities & Regions Pavilion - TAP2015 seminar. The seminar was organized along with the Paris Climate Conference and involves the cities, regional administrations, development organizations, and sponsors from around the world. The reform project of Turku has been accepted as part of the new Transformative Actions Programme (TAP) of cities’ spearhead climate initiatives. TAP is the foremost global climate programme for cities thus far.
Mayors challenge countries to making a good climate agreement
Mayor of Turku Aleksi Randell participated in the Local Leaders Climate Summit at the Paris City Hall together with other leaders of pioneer cities. The meeting was summoned by Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change Michael Bloomberg.
The summit was the largest climate meeting ever organized for mayors. Mayors from all over the world brought forward the climate commitments of their cities and challenge countries to making a good climate agreement. Turku’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2040 is leading edge in the world. Also the greenhouse gas emission reductions that Turku has already reached will act as an encouraging example of how greenhouse gas emission reductions and economic growth can happen side by side.
The aim of Turku is to become the first carbon neutral city in Finland
The solutions developed in cities are very important in controlling climate change, because urban areas account for 70 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, 90 percent of the world’s largest cities are on coastal or intercostal waterways, putting them on the front lines of this battle.
“Local decisions have global consequences. As we develop our operations we also help others, both present-day and future generations,” Aleksi Randell says.
One third of the energy consumption in Turku is already covered with renewable energy sources and up to a half will be covered before 2020. The greenhouse gas emissions in the Turku region have fallen 20 percent in total and 30 percent per resident from the level of 1990. With the new energy investments (330 million euros) the portion of renewable energy sources will top the portion of fossil ones during 2017, and more than 250 new jobs will arise into the renewable energy value chain in the area.
The City of Turku and Turku Energia have invested strongly in renewable energy in Turku since the beginning of the third millennium. Concrete examples are the wood chip heating centre in Oriketo, the heat recovery and production of biogas from wastewater sludge in the Kakola wastewater treatment plant, and steam production from wood gas. The largest pellet power plant in Finland will be completed in Luolavuori (photo above) this year and it will produce renewable reserve and peak power. A solar power plant will be built in Kupittaa in 2016 and a new multi-fuel power plant in Naantali in 2017.
The City of Turku and Sitra are working out how to further speed up the development. The aim is to continue towards a smart energy system that works entirely on renewable energy sources, and at the same time to benefit the economy and innovation of the Turku region. Also, the Finland Futures Research Centre of the University of Turku and a group of pro-reform companies have joined the initiatives.