Carbon-neutral Turku by 2029 Go back »

2019-07-17 | Beijing

In terms of its goals, Turku’s new climate plan is at the global forefront. Implementing the plan requires great changes in areas such as energy systems and traffic. Every resident’s contributions are needed in the climate work.

In accordance with its new climate plan, Turku wants to become carbon neutral by 2029, as the city turns 800. The city would thereby no longer increase the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere and thus warm up the climate.

Climate and Sustainable Development Specialists Tiina Vikman and Miika Meretoja say that even though Turku has done a lot already, the City has its work cut out for it.

“Turku wants to pursue a strong climate policy. The City aims to be an international pioneer and developer of sustainable solutions and climate know-how,” Meretoja says.

Renewable energy sources and energy efficiency

The majority of emissions in the Turku region are currently generated by energy systems. Approximately 50% of the heat and electricity sold by the City of Turku concern company Turku Energia is produced with renewable energy sources, including bioenergy and water, wind and solar power. The aim is to increase this portion.

“The multi-fuel plant of Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy, the operation of which started in late 2018, increases the amount of renewable energy in electricity and district heat production,” Meretoja says.

However, actions are needed on a broad front, including those by energy users.  “The energy efficiency of buildings can be increased by means such as heat pumps and the monitoring and optimisation of energy use.”

Turku and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra have also launched a project, the goal of which is to encourage private people, businesses and communities to make energy investments. “The purpose of the project is to develop new kinds of financing models and advisory services, for example,” Vikman says.

Walking, cycling and public transportation

In traffic, the goal is to increase walking, cycling and public transportation.

“Large capacity public transportation will be carried out with either super buses or trams. Use of the city bikes provided by Turku region public transport Föli will be developed. The bike network will be extended and routes will be added. Winter maintenance of the bike routes will also be developed,” comments Vikman on the procedures.

She mentions that various Mobility as a Service solutions will also become more common in the future. The needs of people to have their own cars will decrease when digital platforms enable them to conveniently order any lifts and vehicles they need.

Turku is also planning to increase the number of charging stations for electric cars, for example.
“Every resident of Turku makes everyday climate decisions when they choose whether they will use their own car, public transportation, a bike or perhaps their feet,” Vikman reminds.

Cities are able to react quickly

Turku’s climate plan also guides the City’s land use and city planning.
“New residential areas are planned by the public transportation routes. Among other things, Turku also aims to increase the amount of green and forest areas, meaning carbon sinks that bind carbon dioxide,” Meretoja says.

Attention is also paid to preparing for climate change. As climate change takes place, extreme weather phenomena, such as heavy rains and floods, will increase. In October, a report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave the whole world a wake-up call. According to the report, climate actions are already long due.

“Cities play a very important role in reining in climate change. They are able to pass changes through at even a fast schedule,” Tiina Vikman reminds.