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Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and Greenpeace v. Finland

Jurisdiction: Supreme Administrative Court of Finland

Principle law(s): Climate Change Act 609/2015

Side A: Finnish Association for Nature Conservation and Greenpeace (Ngo)

Side B: Finland (Government)

Core objectives: Whether the Finnish government has ignored its commitments to mitigate GHG emissions under Finnish law.

Finland's Climate Act (423/2022) was amended to include new provisions on the climate plans of municipalities and on appeals concerning decisions made under the Climate Act. According to section 16 of the Finnish Climate Act, “[t]he Government shall monitor the implementation of the climate policy plans […] adequately to determine whether the targets concerning climate change mitigation and adaptation set out in the plans and the objectives referred to […] will be achieved. On the basis of the monitoring, the Government shall, if necessary, decide on the additional measures required to achieve the targets.“ The new Climate Change Act sets a target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2035 – a target recommended by Finland’s Climate Council. With the new law, there is now a legal obligation to reach carbon neutrality by 2035. However, the collapse of Finland’s carbon sinks in 2021 has created a situation where the government’s climate policy plans are insufficient for meeting the Climate Act’s targets. The reason is due to the intensive forest logging and the slowing down of forest growth that has become a source of greenhouse emissions.

The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation (FANC) and Greenpeace filed an appeal at the Supreme Administrative Court in Finland alleging a breach of the Finnish Climate Act, essentially claiming that the Finnish Government has neglected its duty to properly assess and decide on the need for additional measures pertaining to climate change mitigation when it decided to provide the Finnish Parliament with the Annual Climate Report. The environmental groups argued that the government had ignored its own laws by failing to protect the Nordic nation's carbon sinks which have fallen below the climate plans and to comply with the Climate Act, hence, the environmental groups demanded that the Finnish Government’s decision with respect to the Annual Climate Report 2022 be revoked and sent back to preparation.
The environmental organizations specifically refer to the obligations under the Paris Agreement, arguing that “Greenpeace and the Finnish Nature Conservation Union believe it is important to seek guidance from the court on whether the monitoring and updating of the progress of climate action works as it should according to the law and the parliament intention to act in the light of the statements. At the same time, it is the first time that more effective implementation of climate measures is demanded in Finland through legal channels.” 

The next step is for the Supreme Administrative Court to assess the procedural requirements and decide whether it will consider the organization’s claim.

Full case documents will be added as they become available. 
Related laws and policies
  • FIN flag This law implements Finland legislation
    Climate Change Act 609/2015

    Passed in 2015 Legislative

    The Climate Change Act intends to create a bottom up, long-term, consistent and cost-effective climate policy through enabling political decision making and its transparent implementation (Mitigation and Adaptation). To build a low carbon society, the act proposes to reduce Finland's emissions by...

from the Grantham Research Institute
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