Finland says aims to cut emissions 80 pct by 2050

Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:06pm IST

* 80 percent cut is Finland's first fixed target to 2050

* Aim is part of "wider international effort" before accord

HELSINKI, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Finland aims to cut greenhouse gases by 80 percent or more from 1990 levels by 2050, the government said on Thursday in a report outlining its long-term climate and energy policy.

"Unmitigated climate change may result in immense human suffering and destroy ecosystems," the Finnish government said in a statement 52 days before governments meet in Copenhagen to try to agree a new global climate accord.

"To minimise the risks and harm, the government supports efforts to limit global warming over the period (to 2050) to two degrees Celsius at most," it said.

In its energy strategy last year, Finland said it was committed to the European Union's target to reduce emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 and to boost the share of renewable energy to 38 percent from around 30 percent currently.

Finland had also backed EU aims requiring 60-80 percent emission cuts from industrialised countries by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, but it had no fixed target for 2050 before.

Its new report said a long-term shift to a low-carbon society would require, among other things, revised energy standards in building and renovation work and adjustments in environmental taxation.

"The target of the Foresight Report is a shift to a thriving low-carbon society in which emissions have been reduced by at least 80 percent from the 1990 level by 2050 as part of a wider international effort," Finland said.

"In practice, the achievement of emission reductions in Finland requires virtually zero-emission energy and road transport sectors in the long term," the government said.

It added that developed and emerging economies would need to bear their own share of the responsibility, but Finland would help to seek funding for poorer countries' efforts to cope with climate change.

The report set out scenarios showing that emissions would be curbed by boosting energy efficiency in all sectors, increasing the use of low-carbon technology and renewable energy, and through carbon capture storage (CCS) and nuclear power.

Governments are due to convene a U.N. climate conference in the Danish capital on Dec. 7-18 to try to reach a climate deal to replace provisions of the Kyoto Protocol expiring in 2012.

The talks have stalled over how to share the costs of meeting the climate challenge between rich and poor nations and on the size of industrialised countries' emissions cuts.

"Finland will actively work towards reaching a comprehensive and ambitious agreement in climate negotiations and pursue the integration of climate issues in foreign policy and international cooperation," the government said. (Reporting by Eva Lamppu; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

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