An illuminated pedestrian bridge over a river running through a city.
 Turku, an over 185 000-resident city on the south-west coast of Finland, intends to become carbon neutral by its 800th birthday in 2029. Image: Jenni Virta / Iloinen Liftari

Six Finnish cities named European climate neutrality pioneers

The European Commission has named Espoo, Helsinki, Lahti, Lappeenranta, Tampere and Turku as European pioneers in climate neutrality.

The Finnish sextet are part of a group of 100 cities selected from 362 applicants as part of the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities.

The 359 million-euro mission aims to support the cities with concrete measures to become carbon neutral by the end of the decade and blossom into innovation centres capable of leading by example the continent-wide push for carbon neutrality by 2050. The cities will each be drafted a climate agreement that lays down measures in areas such as urban planning, sustainable urban mobility and climate-positive energy districts.

The mission will also offer their residents a new role as accelerators of the transition.

“Cities that have the desire, skills and resources to become carbon neutral at an accelerated pace are crucial drivers of change towards carbon neutrality in Finland by 2034,” commented Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä. “I would therefore like to congratulate the selected cities.”

Lahti has garnered worldwide attention with its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025, 10 years ahead of Finland and 25 ahead of the European Union. Turku has announced its plan to commemorate its 800th birthday in 2029 by achieving carbon neutrality, a year ahead of Espoo, Helsinki, Lappeenranta and Tampere.

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