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Finland sets precedent for net zero emissions

At the end of May, Finland incorporated one of the most historically groundbreaking and extreme climate change targets into their law. They have aimed to “reach net zero” by 2035, and they are one of the first countries to finally set real measures to help fight climate change. But what exactly does reaching “net zero” mean? According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the term “net zero” refers to the movement of countries around the world aiming to reduce “the global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to a “net zero energy system…while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.” In short, the goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in a sustainable way where all citizens can benefit from the new changes. While this definitely a difficult task, pledging to reach a null carbon emission threshold is a fantastic first step in the movement towards healing our planet. Finland in particular is extremely ambitious when it comes to their pledge: most countries have pledged to go net zero by 2050, but this nation has set the record for the fastest goal to reach net zero, in 2035, 15 years earlier than most. Only time will tell if they will be able to actually reach net zero that quickly, but their ambition and motivation is exactly what the United States and other countries need to make their own pledges. Doing so will have benefits twofold: one, hopefully carbon emissions will be drastically reduced, if not nulled, by 2035. Two, even by saying that we plan to reach “net zero” by a certain date, it helps set a precedent for other ambitious climate change targets. Finland will be the first of many countries to create much needed ambition-driven targets to reduce carbon emissions, and should be the example to us all.


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