Turku plans to be a carbon-neutral urban area in 2029, when the city turns 800 years old. From then on, the region is climate-positive, meaning it binds emissions more than it produces them.
The goal will be achieved by implementing the climate plan approved by the City Council in 2018. The plan directs the necessary actions to be taken and sets milestones as well as progress monitoring and annual reporting.
Turku’s climate plan directs the Turku Group’s operations so that the Turku city area becomes carbon neutral. The target concerns emissions produced in the urban area and the ability to reduce carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (eg carbon sinks). In practice, the target means an 80% reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels.
The city is able to reduce a significant part of the region’s emissions with its own measures, but achieving the goal also requires action from the region’s businesses and residents.
The most significant entities in the city in climate change mitigation:
- Carbon neutral energy system – About half of urban emissions (by 2020)
- Low carbon sustainable mobility – About a quarter of urban emissions (by 2020)
- Sustainable urban structure – Affects both energy and mobility throughout the Urban Area
- City Group’s climate responsibility – Turku City Group sets an example and together creates a story of carbon-neutral Turku
- Strengthening carbon sinks – The capacity of the Turku region and the region to sequester carbon from the atmosphere will be increased
In addition, the climate plan includes preparing for and adapting to climate change. Means:
- increasing carbon sinks
- preparing for sudden heavy rainfall
- safeguarding ecosystems
- raising climate knowledge and awareness
- supporting community and community preparedness
Climate Plan’s milestones for reducing emissions (comparison of emissions with 1990 levels):
- in 2021 reduced by 50%
- in 2025 reduced by 65-70%
- in 2029 carbon neutral (reduced by 80%, the rest will be compensated)
- from 2029 onwards climate-positive city (binds more carbon emissions than it produces)
According to preliminary data for 2020 according to a recent CO2 report, the annual greenhouse gas emissions in the Turku region have decreased by approximately 660,000 t CO2 eq (51%) since 1990. This emission reduction has taken place almost completely over the previous ten years. The first climate program was approved by the city council in 2009.
The progress of the City of Turku’s climate plan is reported annually to the City Council. In addition, the City of Turku organizes an annual climate forum to accelerate climate work.
The calculation of greenhouse gas emissions in the Turku area is performed annually using the best available method, monitored as part of the implementation of the urban strategy and climate plan, and reported in accordance with UN requirements through the CDP system. Current emissions can be calculated with a delay of about a year. Calculations have been made since 1990, 2000 and, since 2008, annually using the CO2 report method.
In accordance with EU requirements, the base year of the Climate Plan 2029 is 1990 and the main monitoring years to be reported to the EU are 2015, 2021, 2025 and 2029. Calculations of greenhouse gas emissions in base and monitoring years are reported to the European Union in accordance with SECAP requirements.
The largest quantitative reduction from the peak level (year 2000) has been achieved by increasing renewable energy production in district heating and electricity. The decrease in emissions compared to 1990 has been due in particular to emissions from district heating, which have fallen by 67 per cent. Emissions from industry and machinery have also fallen sharply (59%). Emissions from mobility have been reduced somewhat. In addition to the Turku region’s own actions, the state’s policies have also supported the achievement of climate goals.
Cool Turku! Transparent plans of action on many fronts to ensure climate neutrality within this decade will serve as a model for many cities globally. Cities are in particular critical to the clean energy transition, as recent data shows that cities account for around three-quarters of global final energy use, with a similar share of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Leadership to tackle that will not only go a long way in meeting the climate targets of for the planet, but also translates into investments, new business and improved well-being for everyone.
The city of Turku´s climate plan is well thought and key areas covered, where the city can have a direct impact. Measuring and communicating the progress also makes the plan more tangible and exciting. It is important that the city leads by example, however, I would like to see similar strong commitments from the major private companies and industry for such ambitious targets. Another small concern is that Turku is a famous tourist destination and lots of passenger and cargo traffic is passing by the city. One should also consider how to reduce the emissions generated by the travel connected with the city.
Very ambitious climate plan and holistic approach. The impact of actions goes beyond carbon neutrality and the intention of the city is to become climate positive city by 2029. The climate plan is monitored and reported with best practices and in a transparent way. The plan is not only limiting carbon emissions but also increase the carbon sinks and support the communities with the adaptation for climate change. City also aims to protect the ecosystems.
This is simply a great initiative and addresses many of the issues in the SDG framework.