The global transition
Greenhouse gas emissions have led to an increase in global average temperatures and created changes in the climate. The consequences can be observed in the increasingly frequent extreme weather conditions that harm people, animals, nature, and infrastructure.
Climate change affects all of humanity, which has led to global cooperation on climate and energy issues in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Shifting from a society dependent on fossil energy resources to one that increasingly utilizes environmentally-friendly renewable energy resources represents a positive stride in terms of addressing climate concerns. Nevertheless, the global transition of established systems necessitates substantial investments. At the EU level, initiatives such as the "European Green Deal" have been created to facilitate member states' transition to sustainable societies through various financial support and incentives. To achieve the goal of sustainable societies, strategies are needed to effectively utilize financial resources. Some of the agreements, proposals, and strategies that have laid the foundation for Åland's transition to a sustainable society include:
- The Paris Agreement
- Fit for 55
- Energy and Climate Strategy for Åland 2030
The Paris Agreement
On November 4, 2016, the so-called "Paris Agreement" was adopted by the 196 parties participating in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21). In December 2016, the Åland Parliament decided to approve the agreement within the areas falling under the jurisdiction of the autonomous region. The Paris Agreement contains an action plan to reduce global emissions and thus curb global warming. The overall goal is to limit the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and strive for a temperature increase of 1.5°C. It is up to each ratifying country to create operational plans for how they will reduce their emissions levels.
Fit for 55
On the EU level, a set of proposals called "Fit for 55" has been developed to update EU legislation and strengthen the framework for achieving the climate goals agreed upon by the European Council and the European Parliament. The aim of Fit for 55 is to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 through clearer guidelines for member states. The package includes provisions related to:
- Energy efficiency
- Renewable energy
- Energy taxation
- EU emissions trading system
- Emission standards for cars and vans
- Land use and forestry (LULUCF)
- And more
Energy and Climate strategy of Åland 2030
The Government of Åland's energy and climate strategy was developed by a working group consisting of representatives from several departments in 2017. The strategy outlines how the political work on energy and climate should be directed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. The energy and climate strategy also serves as a clarifying roadmap for Strategic Development Goal number 6, "Significant Reduction of the Climate Impact," in the Development and Sustainability Agenda for Åland.
The energy and climate strategy includes the following main objectives to be achieved by 2030:
- Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 60% compared to 2005 levels.
- Increase the share of renewable energy to at least 60%.
- Increase the share of locally produced renewable electricity to at least 60%.
- Reduce emissions from road traffic by at least 50% compared to 2005 levels.
These objectives are to be achieved through measures that support:
- Increased local production of renewable electricity.
- Increased use of local and renewable sources for heating.
- Increased distribution of non-fossil fuels in the transportation sector.
- Improved energy performance of buildings.
- Sustainable procurement.
- Increased independent information and advice on energy and climate for individuals and businesses.
- Facilitating the establishment of innovations and innovative companies.
- Sustainable forestry with increased use of forest products.
- Increased circular economy.