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Finland Draws Line in Sand with Proposed Coal Ban

Decision to Ban Coal Demonstrates Finland’s Leadership

The Scandinavian nation of Finland announced on November 29th that they are working towards a complete elimination of coal from their energy production by 2030.

“Basically, coal would disappear from the Finnish market.” – Peter Lund, Chair of the Energy Programme at the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council.

This decision follows several years’ worth of strategic investments in sustainable energy solutions. The country doubled their wind-power production in 2012.

The investment in renewable energy along with the shuttering of coal power plants has dropped the level of coal-produced energy down to 8% of the total national production.

While other nations have committed to reducing and in some cases eliminating their coal energy production, this would be the first instance of a nation actually creating a piece of legislation that bans the practice altogether. Nations such as France, Austria, Canada, and the UK have all announced plans to eliminate coal from their national energy policy.

US Fossil Fuel Strategy

Nearly every developed and developing nation has made commitments to reduce coal-fired energy production, invest in renewable energy sources, and expand carbon capture programs. While the primary mechanism to bring the nations together has been the Paris Climate Agreement, several nations have gone far and above the mandates set in that agreement.

The United States is one of the 112 nations that ratified the agreement in November 2016, effectively making it the environmental law of the land. The election of Donald Trump to the presidency has had the result of casting doubt that the US will support the agreement moving forward.

Trump, a climate change denier, has been very clear that he intends to rip the agreement up. Further, his campaign promise to the Appalachian states was to bring back the coal industry. This approach is more reminiscent of the 1950’s than it is of a new millennium. It also casts serious doubt that the US will align with global strategies regarding fossil fuels.