The City of Turku aims to be carbon neutral by 2029. This objective is one the highest in the world. However, Turku has a solid chance of achieving it.

On Monday 11 June, Turku City Council is going to decide on a Climate Plan that will help with reaching the objective of carbon neutrality. This requires extensive innovations in especially the energy and transport systems, as well as the operations of the City, companies, and the whole civil society.

We have already significantly reduced our greenhouse gas emissions, and we are capable of reaching an international forefront position with our climate work.

Mayor of Turku Minna Arve and City Council Chair Elina Rantanen view climate work as a significant strength of Turku.

–Turku is a boldly renewing city, and carbon neutrality is an important challenge for us. We have already significantly reduced our greenhouse gas emissions, and we are capable of reaching an international forefront position with our climate work.

–The Climate Objectives have received strong support from the decision-makers and residents of Turku. Concern over the climate change and the will to act are bringing people together in both Turku and the world on a larger scale, Rantanen notes.

Carbon neutral energy and coal phase out in 2025

According to the Climate Plan, the Turku Region energy system will be made carbon neutral by 2029. The use of coal in energy production will be ended already in 2025, with the prerequisite that the government will take part in the investment costs.

Turku stands as a great example.

Minister for Housing, Energy and the Environment Kimmo Tiilikainen greets Turku’s definitions of policy with joy.

–Cities’ climate measures are extremely important. Turku stands as a great example. The objective of coal phase out already in 2025 and locally investing in sustainable energy production, instead, are climate actions that will benefit the whole of Finland.

Turku Energia and Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy have participated in the preparation phase of the Climate Plan and are cooperating to build the steps towards coal-free energy.

Carbon neutrality will not be depending on energy.

The CEO of Turku Energia, Timo Honkanen, sees a bright future for energy.

–Carbon neutrality will not be depending on energy. Already this year, the share of renewable energy sources is more than half, and the bar will still be raised for the upcoming years during this journey towards a world of completely renewable forms of energy. The objectives are challenging and require strong development work.

The energy system is being sustainably renewed also by saving energy and more thoroughly utilising the full potential of the region’s energy sources and storaging. This work has been started in e.g. the Skanssi area where district heating is being developed towards a multi-directional local heating solution.

New culture of mobility and carbon neutral public transport

Travel-related emissions are aimed to be halved from the current state by 2029. In order to reach this, the conditions for cycling and walking are being strongly developed, as well as a culture of sustainable mobility. Public transport will be turned into a completely carbon neutral service.

Public Transport Director Sirpa Korte outlines the future plans.

Turku will not create a carbon neutral city alone.

–Public transport will be developed to an even better direction, and the whole travel chain will be attached to it in a manner that makes mobility effortless and comfortable. In practice, a carbon neutral large-capacity public transport system will support both the Climate Objective and the development of the City in a broader sense.

Turku will not - and is not able to - create a carbon neutral city alone. The region’s companies and civil society are challenged to join the climate work. The actions taken by the City of Turku also support the region’s other actors in practicing climate responsibility.

Companies benefit from Turku’s climate measures

Sustainability Manager Jaana Hänninen from Meyer Turku sees that the Turku Climate Plan will open new opportunities for the shipyard.

–Meyer Turku uses electricity that is produced from hydropower. The majority of our carbon footprint is created by the district heating we use. The City’s commitment to carbon neutral district heating strongly supports our objective of reducing the environmental impact of the shipbuilding process.

To forward-looking companies, a low-carbon operational environment and the promotion of sustainable development are a default value, and having this value is also expected from the City. Turku aims to actively create an operational environment for the future.

Turku is a strong location for companies that base their businesses on sustainable future solutions.

Mari Pantsar, the Director of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, appreciates cooperation with the City of Turku.

–It is Sitra’s mission to challenge and renew the Finnish society. We have been encouraging Turku’s climate preparation, and we can see Turku is a strong location for companies that base their businesses on sustainable future solutions. And those solutions are what the world needs!

Stronger preparation for climate change needed

Along with the mitigation of climate change, the Turku Climate Plan includes, for the first time, climate risks analysis and adaptation to climate change. In Turku, the biggest risks are related to storms, high precipitation rates, and floods, and to a rapid ecological change. The changes in weather are harsher and more unpredictable than before.

The preparation measures concern the whole society. The global effects of climate change can lead to an even larger number of climate refugees than before, and we need to be prepared for that also here in Turku. Turku is an entirely climate-proof city that is able to prepare for the risks and effects efficiently.

Turku’s forests and green areas are also a notable strength, as they bind carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and help neutralise the impact of sudden high precipitation rates.