Target: Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finland’s Minister of Environment
Goal: End energy generated from the burning of peat, a fossil fuel more carbon-intense than coal, in Finland.
In 2015, the world’s nations came together to co-operate on fighting climate change by reducing their collective carbon emissions. This agreement, forged in Paris, requires all parties involved to significantly reduce their CO2 emissions within a short-enough time frame necessary to prevent global average temperature from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius over pre-Industrial times.
The reality today is that the world is already perilously close to burning through it’s so-called carbon budget, allowing global warming to progress from an already-dangerous situation into one that is extremely dangerous and possibly unmanageable.
One of the parties to the Paris Agreement is the European Union, with its own climate targets to meet. Impeding this, however, is the Scandinavian country of Finland, which has and continues to burn peat. Peat is a fossil fuel that, while used far less than coal overall, pound for pound contributes more carbon to the atmosphere than even the dirtiest type of coal, lignite, or brown coal.
Peat, also called turf, is a kind of decayed vegetation and a precursor to coal, which forms in wetlands; it is particularly abundant in Northern Europe, hence its use in countries like Finland and Russia. In Finland, the burning of peat accounted for five percent of that country’s electricity generation in 2015 — more than its electricity generated from hydro-power, a far cleaner energy source.
Peat acts as one of nature’s great stores of carbon, and unearthing and burning it only releases that carbon into the atmosphere, where it heats the planet. Sign the petition below to demand that peat is phased out in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives.”
Dear Minister Tiilikainen,
Though peat is abundant in Finland, it should remain in the ground. This is because, per unit weight, peat emits even more greenhouse gases when burned than coal. Peatlands also act as major carbon sinks, trapping carbon dioxide that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere, where it warms the planet. Peat is effectively non-renewable, as its extraction rate far exceeds its regrowth rate.
In 2015, peat accounted for five percent of Finland’s electricity generation — less than hydro-power, which is far more climate-friendly — and Finland’s energy sector CO2 emissions for that year amounted to 21 megatons.
In order for the European Union, and Finland, to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and meet their climate targets, peat burning must be halted as soon as possible. Please pressure your government to replace peat with cleaner energy sources — preferably low-carbon ones.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mikko J. Putkonen