Climate change refers to global warming caused by human action. In the atmosphere, greenhouse gas molecules allow sun’s radiation (light) to enter the surface of the earth but prevent the heat from escaping into space. Because of human action, the amount of greenhouse gases has increased in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and methane, for example, are types of greenhouse gases.
The global temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius is considered a limit which humankind and existing natural communities can endure. We still have time to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, but this will require urgent action. The change in temperature is compared with the pre-industrial time of the 19th century.
Regarding climate change mitigation, Finland has set a target to reach carbon neutrality in 2035 and after this to become carbon negative so that we produce less emissions compared to how much our carbon sinks, such as forests, bind carbon. This is already completely feasible technically, and the bigger challenge is to change people’s attitudes and culture.
- Moving on from fossil sources of energy to renewable forms of energy
- Improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption
- Increasing and improving carbon sinks.
All of these measures need to be taken simultaneously.
Climate change adaptation is important in addition to climate change mitigation. We must prepare for the effects of climate change, including problems caused by extreme weather and global problems reflected in Finland, such as climate refugees.
In Finland, the need to heat buildings will reduce but the need for cooling and solar shading will increase. Periods of draught and excessive heat as well as sudden rain and snow falls put a strain on both nature and the built environment. Yard diversity helps cool buildings and endure variable weather conditions better compared to normal yards. Although winters become milder, there may be significant temporary snowfall, and the volume of snow may increase in Eastern and Northern Finland.