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Significant drop of 12 % in Helsinki-Uusimaa climate emissions 2020

Compared to 2019, preliminary data by the Finnish Environment Institute SYKE show a climate emission reduction of 12,1 % in the municipalities belonging to the Helsinki-Uusimaa Region. This regional drop is one third of the national result. The total decrease in all Finnish municipalities is 7,4 %.

– The latest emission data confirm a positive development of the emissions, which was already to be seen as a decrease of 7 % in 2019. This shows that the climate actions are giving good results. Ms Pia Tynys, the Chief Adviser of Climate Change at the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council states that about a fifth of Finland’s emissions comes from the region she represents, so the work seems effective on a national level, as well.

In climate change mitigation, the measures in the energy sector are now standing out. Nationally, electricity shows the largest drop. In the calculation of emissions in 2020, an increased production of wind power is visible. A lower energy emission coefficient on a national level is having favourable effects on the development in our own region. District heating emissions are also clearly falling; by about 20 % in Helsinki-Uusimaa in 2020.

The results of the actions taken for a decrease in emissions are shown in calculations made by the municipalities. The emissions per resident of the cities Järvenpää and Kauniainen in 2020 were reduced to below 3 tCo2. In the time period of 2005–2020 that is a decrease by half.

– We have been taking on long-term activities for reducing district heating emissions in the capital region. During 2020, we can observe a clear decrease in this form of heating in every city. This goes for good regional development, as stated by the Climate Adviser of the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, Mr Simo Haanpää.

Last year, the cities of Espoo, Helsinki and Vantaa had emissions lower than 3,5 tCO2 per resident. In the entire Helsinki-Uusimaa Region, the emissions per residents were 4,5 tCO2 in 2019, and 3,9 tCO2 in 2020.

Distribution of greenhouse gas emissions of Helsinki Uusimaa region in 2020. The biggest parts are District heating and road transport.
The distribution of emissions in Helsinki-Uusimaa 2020.

Decreasing emissions last year – also on a long term 

– It is expected that some of the emission reductions occurred as a result of the exceptional COVID-19 year. In road transport, for example, emissions decreased mainly due to reduced distances driven, but the effects of improved energy efficiency and electrification of the vehicle fleet are also gradually beginning to show. The effects of the COVID-19 year on emission trends cannot be presented directly, but it is possible to derive the effects of the exceptional circumstances on the development of emissions from electricity use, water transport and industry”, says Mr Santtu Karhinen, Senior Research Scientist in charge of the calculation at SYKE.  

SYKE’s calculations show a decrease of 7 % in the road transport emissions in Helsinki-Uusimaa 2019-2020. As an example, the passenger transport fell by approximately 10 % last year according to HSL, the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority. The COVID pandemic had a much bigger impact on public transportation, leading to a third less passengers.

In a long-term perspective, a positive development in emissions is visible. Emissions have decreased in almost every Finnish municipality during 2005—2020, showing an average change of 24 %. This change is about 27 % in Helsinki-Uusimaa. 

Development of greenhouse gas emissions in Helsinki-Uusimaa region in 2005-2020.
The development of emissions in Helsinki-Uusimaa 2020. The Hinku calculation model includes emissions from the burden sharing sector and the thermal energy production. 

Preliminary data improving the timeliness of emission calculations – Updates on new data

ALas, the emissions calculation system of SYKE covers all Finnish municipalities and 80 emission sectors. The emissions and energy consumption are calculated annually for all municipalities and sectors. The calculation model is updated when necessary; for example, based on new available data. Currently, final emissions calculation results are available for the years 2005–2019. The accurate results for 2020 are available by the spring of 2022.

The newly published regional preliminary data calculation of greenhouse gas emissions ALasPre was carried out for the first time in the ALas system. The purpose of the publication is to improve the timeliness of the calculation system by providing advance information on the emission trend before the publication of final statistics next spring. The preliminary data on emissions will be released already in spring 2022.

A fully consumption-based emissions accounting method is being developed alongside usage-based accounting, and it will be ready by early 2022. This makes it possible to get accurate information about every municipality’s household consumption of power, goods and services, as well as investments and public administration consumption.

A fully consumption-based emissions counting method offers another angle for local allocation and it supports the climate work in municipalities, alongside the current method of accounting.

The municipal emissions calculations system has received funding from the Life Ip Canemure project of the European Union: Canemure(Will be opened in a new window, You are transferring to another service)

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