Turku wants to be carbon neutral in 2029, the year it turns 800 years old. The city has invited all residents to participate in climate work.

According to Development Manager Risto Veivo, responsible for developing climate policy, the process of advancing the carbon neutrality objective of Turku has already gone a long way:

”In the energy system, the share of emission-free energy production is approximately 80 per cent. The use of carbon will be given up entirely by 2025 at the latest. The carbon neutrality of the energy system will be attained in 2029.”

The climate objectives of Turku are also taken into consideration in urban planning, transportation planning and all city procurement.

”The urban structure will become more compact. Construction work is centralised near public transportation routes. Trams will supplement the bus network. The development of cycling opportunities and city bike system continues. Turku will increase carbon sinks in parks and forests. In connection with renovation of city premises, the energy efficiency of buildings is also enhanced”, Veivo mentions as concrete examples.

Those who join the Climate Team can do a climate commitment that helps measure one’s personal carbon footprint and find practical means to reduce it.

The Climate Team is setting an example

Risto Veivo, Senior Specialist Miika Meretoja and Project Officer Lotte Suveri point out that all Turku residents are needed in climate work. They estimate that the actions of the City of Turku will cover two thirds of the workload and the rest will be left for city residents, businesses and communities to do.

Turku has established a Climate Team for city residents and businesses, with the goal of turning climate change prevention into communal action. The Climate Team operates on Facebook and is headed by the legendary Turku-based ice hockey player Saku Koivu.

”Those who join the Climate Team can do a climate commitment that helps measure one’s personal carbon footprint and find practical means to reduce it. The Climate Team shares tips and information and supports members in cutting emissions. All members can also invite new members to join the team”, Suveri says.

The Climate Team spreads information on themes such as climate friendly mobility, circular economy and avoiding unnecessary consumption. The Team also shares tips on how to improve the energy efficiency of your housing.

The starting point of the Climate Team’s plan is that even small everyday actions matter. For example, you can shift to a more environmentally friendly diet one meal and one decision at a time.

Businesses are doing climate actions

Turku is also activating businesses and communities to do climate actions and compiles them into a database.

”The energy and gas sales company Gasum begins to refine biogas for transportation use at the Topinoja waste treatment centre in Turku. The shipping company Meriaura has started to offer customers carbon neutral sea shipping contracts. The factory in Turku of alcohol company Pernod Ricard operates carbon neutrally”, Meretoja lists examples of recent climate actions done by businesses.

The City wants to be climate positive after 2029. At that point, Turku will capture more carbon than it releases into the atmosphere.

”Businesses can take part in climate work also by encouraging employees to cycle or walk to work or use the bus”, Suveri adds.

Becoming carbon positive is the next step

Turku has also organised numerous discussion sessions on the city’s climate plan and required measures. Next autumn, Turku Youth Council will organise a climate conference for young people. Turku Youth Council supervises the interests of young people and promotes their possibilities of participating and influencing in Turku.

Turku will also participate in the We Love Cities campaign of WWF. One of the objectives of the campaign is to spark more conversation between city officials and residents.

According to Risto Veivo, Turku residents are very committed to climate work. Turku Climate Plan and carbon neutrality objective were earlier unanimously approved in the City Council. Even the next objective is clear:

”The City wants to be climate positive after 2029. At that point, Turku will capture more carbon than it releases into the atmosphere.”
 

Text: Matti Välimäki
Translation: Aino Koivisto
Images: Ilari Välimäki