Finland to phase out coal one year early

helsinki coal photo
CC BY 2.0 Arunas68

Times they are a changin'

In 2016, Finland announced that it was phasing out coal. At the time, at least one commenter voiced some skepticism. It seems, however, that plans are moving ahead. And Cleantechnica tells us that they are actually moving ahead early, with Finnish Parliament approving a motion to move the ban on coal for electricity generation—except in cases of emergency—forward by one year to 2029.

Of course, one year doesn't sound like an awful lot. But it's important to remember that 2029 is only 10 years away, so a shift of a single year is a 10% tightening of an already tight timeline.

We see this type of move time and time again, and it tends to be why I'm excited about the announcement of bold plans—even if the timelines aren't perfect. Lego achieved its 100% renewables goal three years early. Norway surpassed its car CO2 reduction goal three years early. Sweden reached its renewables goal 12 years early. And just to break out of my Nordic bubble for a second, China and India beat some of their climate goals too.

We know we are headed for decarbonization. How fast we get there is all that matters now. And by setting medium-term, ambitious targets, policy makers and companies alike can send signals to the market which tend to have a momentum all their own. So don't be surprised if people start beating those goals.

Finland to phase out coal one year early
Times they are a changin'

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