Reality check – New Zealand is not a climate change leader

Finland’s Target to be Carbon Neutral by 2035

Our current government has begun to take climate change seriously with the  Zero Carbon Bill. This a huge advance on the do-nothing National-led Key government. But the climate change measures in the Budget were mediocre and not the trans-formative change we need to rapidly decarbonise the economy by 2030.  Nor are we a “climate change leader” as the government tries to make out.  Our target of achieving net-zero emissions of everything but methane by 2050, has been shown up by Finland to be seriously lacking in ambition and commitment

In Finland the  government programme, where carbon neutrality, sustainability and circular economy are overriding themes, follows a historical election where tackling climate crisis became the number one election topic. According to Climate Barometer, a survey carried out ahead of the election, 70 % of Finns wanted climate solutions to be among the next government’s priority themes.

Finland will go carbon neutral by 2035, under a coalition deal published on Monday, setting one of the world’s earliest timelines for reaching that mark.

After more than a month of negotiations, five parties agreed on the goal championed by incoming Social Democrat prime minister Antti Rinne.

Rinne told reporters it was time to “invest in the future”, presenting the climate strategy as part of a package with increased welfare spending.

The new government said it would legislate the target and then review it in 2025.

Unlike our target which largely excludes methane Finland’s target is all-gases target, by 2035.  

Whilst we already have  85% – 90 % renewable energy, 40% of Finland’s electricity still comes from fossil fuels (including peat).  So Finland has a much harder task to become carbon neutral than we do, yet their target is far more ambitious.  They are willing to make this rapid transition while simultaneously protecting affected workers.

Unlike in New Zealand, Finland’s government has recognised that we face a climate emergency/crisis and are acting accordingly.  Sadly, in New Zealand our government is still beholden to the farming industry and other vested interests, which means we are still fiddling while the planet burns.


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