Espoo has the best carbon stocks of soil and vegetation in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area

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2021-02-19 12:02

A recent survey shows that Espoo’s soil and vegetation carbon stocks and their annual change, i.e. carbon sink, are at a relatively good level when comparing the emissions in accordance with the City of Espoo’s carbon neutrality target with the current carbon stocks and sinks.

A recent joint survey of Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY) and Helsinki Metropolitan Area municipalities, published in February 2021, gives the cities a more accurate and up-to-date picture of carbon stocks in soil and vegetation and their annual change, i.e. carbon sinks.

The largest carbon stocks and sinks are found in forest soils and vegetation. Forests and protected areas, in particular, are important carbon storages for cities.

Opportunity in forests as Espoo strives for carbon neutrality 2030

According to the survey, Espoo has the largest carbon sinks when compared to the carbon stocks and sinks of Helsinki, Vantaa and Kauniainen. This is explained in particular by the amount of forests in Espoo.

The City of Espoo has set itself the goal of achieving carbon-neutrality by 2030.

At the moment, Espoo’s carbon sinks are so large that they could offset greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 if the emissions can be reduced by the targeted 80% compared to 1990. In other words, the sink would be in line with Espoo’s target of approximately 20% compensation.

The population of Espoo is growing by an average of around 4,900 residents per year in projections up to 2028. The city’s growth and changes in land use will also affect the carbon sinks and stocks in the future. This is relevant for the city’s climate work.

Growth will be channelled mainly to already developed areas, in particular population centres, and along good public transport links. In this way, emissions can also be reduced as much as possible in a growing city, while maintaining a large proportion of carbon sinks and stocks.

“Espoo’s growth must be sustainable. The joint survey of HSY and the Helsinki Metropolitan Area supports the City of Espoo’s Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan. Together, they provide a good knowledge base to support the implementation of our carbon neutrality target,” says Jukka Mäkelä, Mayor of Espoo.

Survey provides basis for monitoring carbon stocks and sinks

The survey of carbon sinks and stocks in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area can be used as a basis for compensation analysis and land use planning as part of climate impact assessment.

“The survey provides a good snapshot of Espoo’s carbon stocks and sinks. It is important to monitor their change as we move towards the carbon neutrality target, and this report provides a good basis for this,” says Liisa Kallio, Environmental Specialist at the City of Espoo Environment Department.

Additional information:

Liisa Kallio

Environmental Specialist
City of Espoo/Environment Department
tel. +358 40 639 4277
liisa.kallio(at)espoo.fi

Paula Kuusisto-Hjort

Planning Manager
City of Espoo/City Planning Department
tel. +358 43 825 5235
paula.kuusisto-hjort(at)espoo.fi

Juha Viholainen

Climate Specialist
Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority
tel. +358 50 476 1237
juha.viholainen(at)hsy.fi