The Ministry of the Environment has neglected its duty to provide Parliament with annual climate reports, says deputy chancellor of Justice Mikko Puumalainen.
According to legislation that took effect in 2015, government must provide lawmakers with an annual report detailing emissions growth, performance on emissions reduction goals and additional measures required to meet climate targets.
The ministry only handed over its first climate report in June 2019, although the related legislation came into force four years earlier, the deputy chancellor noted in a statement.
Ministry: Specific regulations missing
The environment ministry explained its apparent dereliction by noting that the legislation did not provide exact regulations about when the first report should be delivered. According to the ministry, work began on the first report at the end of 2018 and it could not have started before the adoption of a medium-term climate policy.
However the deputy chancellor said that the ministry's explanations were not legally sound and he insisted that the climate report should be handed over to Parliament every year.
Puumalainen noted that the annual report is one way to keep decision makers informed and to safeguard the public’s right to influence decisions that affect their living environment.
The deputy chancellor decided to investigate the matter on his own initiative.
The role of the office of the Chancellor of Justice is to provide oversight of the lawfulness of government, ministries and other public officials. The Chancellor of Justice and deputy chancellors may issue warnings, draw attention to sound administrative practices or in serious cases, recommend prosecution.