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Report: Finland needs 700,000 electric cars to achieve carbon neutral goal

Government is set to outline measures aimed at reducing traffic emissions by the beginning of next year.

autoja syksyisessä maisemassa
The working group said a range of new measures are required if Finland is to halve transport emissions by 2030. Image: Markku Pitkänen / Yle

Finland’s government will need to significantly increase the number of electric cars on Finnish roads over the next decade if it is to achieve the target of carbon neutrality by 2035, according to a report by a Ministry of Transport and Communications working group.

As part of the carbon neutral goal, the government wants to halve the 2005 level of road traffic emissions by 2030.

This is an ambitious objective, as transport currently accounts for about one-fifth of Finland's greenhouse gas emissions, and road traffic is responsible for nearly 94 percent of that domestic transport emissions figure.

According to the latest forecasts, Finland’s current policies will lead to a reduction in emissions of about 3.2 million tonnes by 2030. On top of this, a further reduction of around 1.55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from road traffic will be required in order to meet the goal of halving emissions.

The working group’s final report said that there is no simple solution to this complicated problem, but that a wide range of different measures are required.

Set target of 700,000 electric cars, group says

One of the key measures recommended by the working group was the raising of Finland’s electric cars target to 700,000 vehicles by 2030, the majority of which would be fully electric.

The current target is 250,000 electric cars and rechargeable hybrids by the beginning of the next decade.

This new target could be achieved by the introduction of tax incentives, fixed-term procurement subsidies or transport emissions trading schemes, the group’s report states.

The working group also recommended that the government encourage consumers and businesses to invest in low-emission technologies and fuels, by placing a higher cost on CO2 emissions and reforming transport taxation.

Emissions from heavy commercial transport could also be reduced by introducing subsidies for the purchase of gas and electric trucks, the working group said.

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