Remarkable update: Carbon neutral Helsinki 2035!
Helsinki takes its own responsibility for the prevention of climate change seriously and ambitiously. The old goal of being carbon neutral by the year 2050 has been now updated to 2035.
“WOW, how is this going happen”, was my first thought when I saw this figure (WOW-factor continues when I look out from the window and see the chimneys of coal powered power plant).
The old roadmap (2016) needs to be updated, the update will take place in early spring 2018 (which in Finland might mean end of April or beginning of May).
The objectives of the new roadmap will be:
- Cut off greenhouse emissions by 80% (1990-2035)
- Offset the remaining 20% with carbon sinks to reach the full 100% (global and local carbon sinks)
Known milestones on the way are:
- Greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by at least 30 percent by 2020.
- Energy efficiency has improved by at least 20 percent by 2020. (The citizen-specific energy consumption will be used as the indicator and results are compared to the year 2005)
- The share of renewable energy of the procurement of electricity, district heating and district cooling by Helsinki Energy is at least 20 percent by 2020
- Public transportation emission-free by 2021
The biggest obstacle lies in Energy Production, states Jari Viinanen (Climate Expert of the City of Helsinki Environmental Services).
I personally couldn’t agree more with him: due to the cold climate, Helsinki requires much more energy in comparison to many southern cities (57% of Helsinki’s greenhouse gas emissions come from heating (2015)). All this must happen at the same time when Helsinki has been unwilling to invest into new nuclear energy (the city is currently trying to find a way to retreat from the Hanhikivi nuclear power plant project) and district heat production using nuclear energy is a total NO NO due to political reasons. (I am personally not sure yet am I pro or against nuclear energy, the issue has so many levels that even an energy specialist has difficulties to decide. The human-caused climate change must be stopped by our generation; that is what I am 100% sure of).
As you can see from Chart 1 above, the change is dramatical.
In the year 2016, only 5% of total energy was from CO₂-free sources and 20 years later the city should be CO₂-free.
In the year 2015 total energy consumption consisted from:
- Electricity 14%
- Heating 57%
- Transportation 26%
- Municipal waste 2%
- Others 1%
It will be really interesting to see how the city adapts to this rapid change (and at what cost) because it will affect everyone’s daily routines. It is not only about adopting new technologies in the fields of renewable energy and circular economy, it is about a new way of life because precondition is that total energy consumption/person will decrease. Furthermore, this will create plenty of new jobs to the capital area of Finland, while more traditional jobs will disappear. It is best to jump on the train now, instead of trying to catch it after 10 years, when it is already at full speed.
Stay tuned. Early 2018 will be interesting and I will be blogging about it.
Let me know the situation in your own city and comments on my blog post are very welcome =)