Greenhouse gas emissions


In 2015, the greenhouse gas emissions of the metropolitan area were, according to the preliminary estimations, altogether
 5 216 thousand tonnes of CO2e. This equals to 4.6 tonnes per capita.

Change in total emissions

  • -8 % in comparison to 2014.
  • -12 % in comparison to 1990.

Change in emissions ​​​per capita

  • -9 % in comparison to 2014.
  • -35 % in comparison to 1990.

Greenhouse gas emissions of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area were reduced by nearly 8 per cent in 2015

According to the final emission assessment by HSY, 5.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions were generated in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in 2015. Emissions were reduced by 8 per cent compared to the year before. In 2015, emissions from electricity use, district heating and waste treatment were reduced. The combined greenhouse gas emissions of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen have been declining since the approval of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Climate Strategy 2030.

In 2015, the greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption, district heating, transport and waste treatment were reduced. More heat pumps and less coal was used in the production of district heating. The new heat pump power plant in Espoo, recovering the energy from waste water treated by HSY,  began operating in January 2015, which decreased the emissions from district heating in Espoo by 8 per cent.

Also in Helsinki, less fossil fuels were used and heat pump energy production reached record levels. In 2015, district heating still caused 45 per cent of the total emissions in the metropolitan area. The production was based on fossil fuel usage at 83 per cent.

Emissions from electricity consumption were reduced by as much as 25 per cent. The electric energy consumed in Finland and in the metropolitan area was very low on emissions especially due to the increase in electricity import and reduction in coal-based condensing  electricity production subsequent to that increase. The production of domestic water and wind power also increased. Apart from heating electricity, the share of electricity of the total emissions of the metropolitan area has decreased during the past few years. In 2015,  it was only 13 per cent.

In the transport sector, especially the emissions from heavy traffic were reduced compared to the year before. Transport's share of the total emissions was 24 per cent in 2015.

Apart from the most important emission sources, also the emissions from waste treatment were reduced significantly in 2015.  The amount of waste disposed  at the landfill was about 80 per cent lower than in the previous year, mainly due to the waste-to-energy power plant.  Fugitive emissions are still generated but the recovery of lanfdill gas was enhanced in 2015. The emissions from wastewater treatment processes were reduced as well. 

Can we reach our targets?

Since 2007, the combined greenhouse gas emissions of Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa and Kauniainen have decreased on average 3 per cent a year. Should this trend continue, the -20 percent goal of the joint Climate Strategy will be reached already before the target year of 2020. In 2015, the total emissions were 12 per cent less than in the reference year of 1990.

Compared to 1990, Helsinki's greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by already 28 per cent. Elsewhere in the metropolitan area the emissions are still somewhat higher than in 1990. The difference is partly due to higher growth of population and building stock in Espoo and Vantaa than in Helsinki, as well as the fact that natural gas was introduced in district heating already in 1989 in Espoo and Vantaa and as late as in 1991 in Helsinki.

In the future, new low- carbon investments are expected and the emissions from district heating will decrease, especially due to the phasing out of the Hanasaari coal-fired power plant. This brings the climate targets closer. In the long run, however, more significant changes are needed in mobility, energy-efficiency, and energy production in order to achieve carbon neutrality. Furthermore, more attention has to be paid to the indirect emissions, which are caused by food, building materials and other similar consumer products. These emissions are usually generated outside the region and are not included in the present emissions monitoring.

Compared to the preliminary data published in the spring, the final assessment resulted in about 2 per cent lower emissions. The emissions from road traffic, calculated by VTT, were lower than expected based on changes in traffic volumes.