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Cablegate: Finland Proposes Eighty Percent Emissions

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RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHHE #0450/01 3380924
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040924Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY HELSINKI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5302
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HELSINKI 000450

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EIND ELTN ENRG TRGY KGHG FI
SUBJECT: FINLAND PROPOSES EIGHTY PERCENT EMISSIONS
REDUCTIONS IN NEW LONG-TERM CLIMATE REPORT

1. SUMMARY On November 20, the Government of Finland (GOF)
presented its Long-term Climate and Energy Policy Report to
the diplomatic community. The report - adopted unanimously
by Parliament in October 2009 - examines four possible paths
Finland could take to achieve an 80 percent reduction in
emissions by 2050. The pathways take into account factors
such as economic growth, transportation needs, energy
consumption and use of nuclear power. The different
scenarios range from the Eco-Efficiency model in which
Finland uses 100 percent renewable energy to the Industrial
Society model which relies heavily on nuclear energy. The
GOF hopes the report will generate discussion on how Finland
should prepare for climate challenges, as well as create the
policy conditions necessary to encourage clean technology
investments. The GOF plans to formally present the report
during the COP-15 negotiations in mid-December. While the
report contains lofty goals regarding Finland's efforts to
address climate change, GOF officials stressed that the 80
percent reduction could only by realized as part of a wider
international effort in which other countries take on similar
targets. END SUMMARY.

FINLAND'S LATEST CLIMATE REPORT LOOKS TO 2050
---------------------------------------------

2. On November 20, Minister of Environment Paula Lehtomaki
and the Prime Minister's Climate Advisor Oras Tynkkynen
presented an overview of the GOF's Long-term Climate and
Energy Policy Report ("Foresight Report") to the diplomatic
community. The Foresight Report is an addendum to Finland's
National Climate Strategy presented to Parliament in November
2008. Whereas the National Climate Strategy provides
specific goals Finland must undertake by 2020 to meet the
EU-mandated climate targets, the Foresight Report contains no
binding obligations or concrete actions. According to
Tynkkynen, the purpose of the Foresight Report is to prepare
for long-term climate challenges; create the policy
conditions necessary to encourage clean technology
investments; and position Finland as a forerunner in tackling
climate change issues.


MODELS COMPARE ENERGY CONSUMPTION, PRODUCTION OPTIONS
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. The Report details four pathways Finland could take to
reach its 80 percent reduction goal. Each path takes into
account factors such as economic growth, transportation
needs, use of renewable energies, energy consumption and
nuclear use. In the Eco-Efficiency model, emission
reductions will be achieved by restructuring Finland's
economy to focus on service-based, internet-connected
industries. Communities would cluster around these 'clean'
industries, reducing commuting needs. The focus on a service
economy would also reduce the need for goods transportation.
In this scenario, Finland would cut its energy consumption by
half and use 100 percent renewable energy. Economic growth
would slow at first due to initial investments in clean
technology, but would then increase, averaging 1.7 percent by
2050.

4. At the other end of the spectrum is the Industrial Society
model. In this scenario, Finland would not drastically alter
its economic make-up which currently relies both on
service-based, but also some traditional industries (such as
paper making). In this model, Finland would achieve its
emission goals by markedly increasing its use of nuclear
power to two-fifths of its total energy profile (it is
currently less than one-fifth, or 18 percent). (Note: The GOF
is debating plans for future nuclear reactor construction,
although the current Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen recently
expressed doubt at an IAEA World Energy Outlook seminar that
Finland would approve all three of its pending reactor
applications.) Renewable energy would account for
three-fifths of Finland's energy supply, and energy
consumption would remain steady. The average economic growth
forecasted for this model is 1.8 percent.

5. In the middle of the spectrum lie the Local Services and
Self-Sufficiency models. The Local Services model focuses
Finland's economy even more strongly on a service-based
industry. Only two-thirds of Finland's energy would come
from renewable sources with the remaining one-third supplied
by nuclear power. Energy consumption would decrease by 25
percent and the average economic growth would be 1.8 percent.
In the Self-Sufficiency model, Finland would only lightly
reorient its economy towards more service-based industries.
The country would focus instead on increasing its share of
local renewable energy to four-fifths of total energy supply
with the remaining one-fifth supplied by nuclear power. In
this model, energy consumption would drop by 33 percent,
transportation needs would remain steady, with an average

HELSINKI 00000450 002 OF 002


economic growth of 1.2 percent.

FINNISH PUBLIC PREFERS SELF-SUFFICIENCY MODEL
---------------------------------------------

6. Tynkkynen stressed that the four scenarios were for
illustrative purposes only. The GOF does not intend to adopt
any single pathway as future policy. Instead, the GOF hopes
the report will encourage dialogue and eventually action
among stakeholders. The GOF has already held a number of
community Future Forums which presented the report to local
communities. Many of these communities were consulted during
the report's initial compilation, and provided feedback via
1300 internet responses. According to the report, most Finns
view the Eco-Efficiency model as the ideal model, but
unrealistic. The Self-Sufficiency model is the favorite
pathway, although some still doubt its applicability.

DESPITE COSTS, FINLAND SEES OPPORTUNITIES
-----------------------------------------

7. One challenge not discussed in the report was the cost in
moving to a low-emissions society. Tynkkynen acknowledged
that it was difficult to estimate costs, but that doing
nothing about Finland's emissions would be far more
expensive. He added that the report should be viewed as an
opportunity. Tougher emission targets would support clean
technology companies, leading to new jobs and export
possibilities. Finland could essentially become a laboratory
for low-emission living via innovative clean technology.

8. Despite the report's lofty goals, Finland's approach to
climate change remains quite pragmatic. Both Lehtomaki and
Tynkkynen stressed that any shift to a low-carbon society
would not happen at the expense of Finland's well-being and
competitiveness. They added that Finland's 80 percent
emission reduction would only be realized as part of a wider
international effort in which other countries take on similar
targets.

9. COMMENT The GOF plans to formally present their Long-term
Climate and Energy Report during the COP-15 negotiations in
mid-December. If there is no agreement in Copenhagen (or
shortly thereafter), Finland will not set aside its 2050
goals altogether. Although the Parliamentary debate on the
Foresight Report revealed differences of opinion, it also
demonstrated a strong consensus across party lines that
Finland must do something to reduce its heavy carbon
footprint. END COMMENT.
ORECK

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