Interview with Minna Arve, Mayor of Turku, Finland
Turku managed to cut one third of its greenhouse gas emissions compared to the year 1990. Which measures did you adopt to achieve this?
According to the latest figures of 2019, we have actually already cut 37% of our emissions from the level of 1990 and are well on the way to halve them by next year. To achieve this in practice, we have completely transformed our energy system from fossils to renewable, promoted sustainable transport and urban development and increased our carbon sinks in forests and greeneries.
Our low-carbon transition utilizes best available scientific knowledge and co-creation with partners. We seek to mobilize the whole civil society: citizens, companies, universities and other public entities are all contributing to Climate-positive Turku with their own actions and solutions. We work together with our local partners as well as cities in Europe and Asia in ICLEI’s Circular Cities Coalition to develop and execute circular economy solutions.
Turku has been part of the Covenant of Mayors since 2010. The collaboration has benefited us in setting targets, defining actions, monitoring progress and sharing our experiences in unified format between thousands of cities in Europe.
What are the next steps in your energy and climate strategy?
By 2029 Turku will celebrate its 800th anniversary. The best birthday gift we can create together with our whole society is a carbon-neutral city.
We will not stop there: as decided unanimously by our City Council in 2018, we are aiming at becoming one of the first climate-positive areas in the world from 2029 onwards. This means that Turku’s net impact on climate will be cooling instead of warming.
To make this happen, we will continue the transition of our energy and mobility systems and apply nature-based solutions for mitigation, adaptation and livability. We will also engage our citizens, businesses, academia and other partners even stronger.
Further investments are needed too. In this regard, the European Green Deal and the Climate Pact are extremely welcome for all ambitious climate cities in Europe!
How do you see Turku in 2050?
In 2050 Turku is a climate positive area with sustainable and high-quality living standards. All the city’s functions are based on circular economy improving the life-quality and generating zero carbon emissions.
Click on the image to learn more!
See Turku's Covenant of Mayors signatory profile.