In Helsinki, environmental issues such as efficient use of energy and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions are considered extremely important. Environmental issues are crucial in the planning of new districts, and in developing the public transport system further.
Helsinki was bestowed the top ranking in the area of environmental politics in the European Green City Index, a study comparing the environmental performance of European capitals. Furthermore, a study by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that active citizens, who are very aware of environmental matters, serve to further strengthen the environmental policy of Helsinki.
Helsinki also received a good rating in the areas of air quality, waste utilisation, land use and construction. In total, Helsinki ranked seventh. More information on the study.
In the field of urban planning and land use, Helsinki aims at eco-efficiency by making the urban structure denser, and by developing the public transport system. In energy production, efficiency is as high as 90%, making it easier to achieve lower overall emissions.
Clean and green city
The Helsinki metropolitan area is one of the cleanest metropolitan areas in Europe in terms of air quality, which is frequently measured as being predominantly good or satisfactory. Over the past decades, progress has been made in air quality management, seeing a reduction in concentrations of sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide and lead. More information on air quality
Helsinki is a clean and green city where nature is present even in the city centre, with parks constituting 36% of the land area. Residents place high value on these areas and are passionate about protecting them. Altogether there are 40 nature reserves in Helsinki, making up a total of 890 hectares. Three of them form part of the European Natura 2000 network.
Preparing for climate change
Helsinki is taking measures to prepare for a possible rise in sea level, and also for potential flooding, which may become more commonplace in future. However, at least for now, the phenomenon of the post-glacial rebound affecting Finnish coastal areas has compensated for any influence of climate change on the sea level in the region.
New waterfront areas are being built sufficiently high above sea level. In Helsinki, the recommendation for new areas is that the lowest floor level should be at least three metres above sea level. In some of the newest city plans these minimum levels have been raised further, e.g. in Kalasatama the limit is 3.5 metres. In Helsinki, approximately 700 existing buildings are located lower than 2.5 metres above sea level. Flood embankments are planned for these areas.
Carbon neutral Helsinki 2050
The main goal of Helsinki’s climate policy is to reduce emissions by 30 percent, from the 1990 level, by 2020. In the long run, by 2050, Helsinki aims to be a carbon neutral city. Read more