CC1 Greenhouse gas emissions

>> Background information



Greenhouse gas emissions increased 1990 onwards till the beginning of the 2000s. Highest emission peak was reached in 2003 when they were equivalent to 84,3 million tons of carbon dioxide. Since then the emissions have decreased slightly.

The economic recession starting in 2008 reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than 10% compared to the situation year before. In 2011 Finland?s greenhouse gas emissions were equivalent to 67 million tons of carbon dioxide.


Emission types


The share of carbon dioxide of all greenhouse gas emissions is more than 80 %. After 2003 carbon dioxide emissions have slightly declined. Fossil fuels used in traffic and energy sector are the main source of carbon dioxide emissions.

Methane is formed when organic matter decomposes without oxygen, for example in ruminant digestion or in waste tip. Methane emissions have decreased steadily during last two decades. Methane covers about 6 % of all greenhouse gas emissions.

Nitrous oxide is released when nitrates decompose in the soil. Most anthropogenic nitrous oxides originate from agriculture. Nitrous oxide emissions have decreased since 1990 and their share of greenhouse gas emissions is 8 %

Other greenhouse gas emissions are synthetic chemicals. These halogen derivatives of organic hydrogen and carbon are compounds that contain chlorine, fluorine or bromine (e.g. CFC, HCFC and PFC). They are used in refrigerating devices, solvents, foamed plastics and electricity and electronics industry. Emissions of halogen derivatives have increased tenfold since 1990.

Emission sources

Energy sector causes one third of all greenhouse gas emissions in Finland. Since 1990 energy sector emissions have increased reaching highest level in the beginning of 2000s. Traffic is the second largest emission source covering 20 % of all greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from traffic have increased slightly since 1990s.

Industry and building sectors are responsible of 12?15 % of Finland?s greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture 8 % and waste management 3 %. These emissions have decreased slightly during last 20 years.

Carbon sinks

Mires, forests and other vegetation hold carbon dioxide and thus function as carbon sinks. Land use, land use change and forestry are part of the national greenhouse gas inventory that takes into account both emissions and carbon intake. In the 2000s the net carbon intakes of these sectors have been equivalent to 27 million tons of carbon dioxide. Net carbon intake has somewhat grown since 1990.


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