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Climate change – global policy and cooperation

Climate change has wide-ranging impacts, so actions to combat it must be incorporated into all aspects of societal policy, including foreign policy, security policy, trade policy and development policy. The consequences of climate change burden poor developing countries the most seriously. Finland supports the climate measures of developing countries as part of development cooperation.

UN Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol are the base of climate measures

The objective of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) of 1992 is to stabilise global greenhouse gas emissions to a level that does not pose an environmental risk.

The 195 countries that have adopted the Framework Convention mitigate climate change, i.e. they reduce their emissions and adapt to the changes it causes through national measures.

The Kyoto Protocol of 1997 supplements the Framework Convention and contains more specific emission reduction obligations for industrialised countries. In all, 192 countries acceded to the Protocol during the first commitment period (2008–2012). Accession to the second commitment period (2013–2020) is in progress, but for instance the EU countries are already implementing the obligations of the new commitment period.

Countries that have acceded to the Framework Convention have agreed that a decision on a new agreement binding all countries will be made in 2015. Changing the course of climate change requires actions by all countries.

Climate change is a major obstacle to development

The adverse impacts of climate change on local climate, such as the increase in storms or droughts, cause problems especially for the poorest countries and small island states.

Climate change also poses security threats. It can affect migration, undermine food security, increase competition for natural resources and can thus feed conflicts.

Climate change and its impacts must be taken into account in countries’ development planning so that the development results achieved or aimed at are not nullified.

The broad security perspective of the EU’s and Finland’s security policy focuses on comprehensiveness and preventive measures. Finland supports the climate measures of developing countries as part of development cooperation.

Climate change affects men and women in different ways

Climate change has adverse impacts, among others, on the food security of households, which in developing countries is largely the responsibility of women.

Women have diverse everyday experience of how best to adapt to climate change and how it can be curbed most effectively. However, women’s possibilities to influence decision-making are often weak.

Finland has supported inclusion of the gender perspective in climate measures since 2008. The objective is for women to be taken into account in the new climate agreement and its implementation as decision-makers and dynamic actors.

Finland supports developing countries’ climate measures as part of development cooperation

Developing countries need support, for example to develop legislation and climate officials’ know-how, strengthen climate institutions and to increase citizens’ potential to respond from village level to cities.

Industrialised countries support the poorest countries by providing financial and expert assistance, by contributing to developing countries’ own potential to respond and by technology development and transfer. The support provided through development cooperation plays a key role in this work.

Finland uses a variety of channels to provide this support, including funds established under the UNFCCC, bilateral development cooperation projects or NGO projects. The climate perspective is also taken into account in Finnfund’s financing.

The most important funds established under the Framework Convention are the Global Environment Fund (GEF) and the new Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Examples of Finland’s support for the climate measures of developing countries:

  • We support developing countries’ adaptation through meteorology projects carried out by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). These projects focus on the development of developing countries’ own meteorological services.
  • In Southeast Asia we support the network of key persons working with climate change maintained by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), through which information and experiences are shared and peer support is provided.
  • We support Deforestation and Forest Degradation – REDD+ programmes for example by studying the coal and biomass of forests and by developing forest information systems in almost all of the target countries for forest cooperation.

Support for developing countries’ adaptation to climate change

Adaptation to climate change means that the adverse effects of climate change are identified and provision is made for them. The aim is to reduce the vulnerability of both human communities and ecosystems to the impacts of climate change and to improve their ability to recover from disasters caused by climate change.

Adaptation measures are very different for instance in coastal areas compared to slope cultivation in mountainous areas or pastures threatened by drought.

Reduction of deforestation is important

Forests bind carbon dioxide. The greenhouse gases from deforestation, or the disappearance of forests, account for almost one-fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing deforestation and forest degradation also yields many other benefits, such as the protection of water reserves and biodiversity and the prevention of soil erosion.

Finland is a forest country. We use our long-term forest knowledge when supporting sustainable forestry in developing countries. We take climate change into account when planning forestry projects to be financed in developing countries.

The carbon market provides cost-effective emissions control

The mitigation of climate change calls for cost-effective emission reduction measures. By pricing greenhouse gas emissions, the costs they cause are internalised in decision-making and investments are directed to lower carbon alternatives.

Finland supports the pricing of emissions in developing countries among others in the World Bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness Fund. Through the fund, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and 12 other countries receive support for the development of emissions trading schemes, carbon taxes and other emissions pricing schemes. 

Alongside development cooperation, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs procures emission reductions from investments made through the clean development mechanism (CDM). The clean development mechanism is a system under the Kyoto Protocol where industrialised countries finance emission reduction projects in developing countries. Target countries benefit from the projects by obtaining funding and new technologies promoting sustainable development. Industrialised countries get access to emission reduction credits from projects; they can use these credits to supplement their own emission reduction obligations.

Finland’s CDM project portfolio has a total of about 150 projects in developing countries. The Ministry of Employment and the Economy coordinates the purchase programme under the Kyoto mechanisms.

During the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2013–2020), emission reductions are acquired through the following carbon funds: the Asian Development Bank’s Future Carbon Fund, the NEFCO Carbon Fund and the World Bank’s Prototype Carbon Fund. In these funds, the focus has shifted from the purchasing to the repatriation of emission reductions.

During the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, Finland also has two bilateral clean development mechanism projects, the Ningxia Federal Solar Cooker Project in China and the Reduction of Methane Emissions from Ruseifeh Landfill project in Jordan.

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