Finnish research on climate-smart land use provides tools for international climate work – Results of Catch the Carbon projects presented to OECD countries in Paris
News - Published 14.11.2023
The Finnish Catch the Carbon package of climate measures has developed various methods to guide climate-smart land use and to reconcile different forms of land use. This week, two key projects are presented at the international emission reduction forum of OECD countries in Paris.
At the Inclusive Forum on Carbon Mitigation Approaches, the OECD countries share knowledge and best practices to find effective ways to reduce climate emissions. On Tuesday 14 November, results from the Catch the Carbon projects will be presented. These have investigated how land use decisions could be guided through ‘soft methods’ and developed a model for coordinating wind power, forest use and peatland restoration.
Nudging as an alternative to regulation and subsidies
The research project Carbon Nudges in Climate Wise Land Use in Agriculture and Forestry aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land use and enhance carbon storage by applying techniques known as nudging to peatland farmers.
Nudging offers an alternative guidance method to regulation and subsidies. By making some options easier, more timely and more attractive, people can be guided to choose them without restricting their freedom of choice. The effectiveness of the nudging methods tested in the project will be verified using farming data to be collected later.
“Preliminary results indicate that nudges promote climate measures that are easy to implement. The more significant the measure, the greater is the role of the traditional guidance instruments,” says Olli-Pekka Ruuskanen, Research Director at the Pellervo Economic Research PTT.
Common assessment model can increase the acceptability of land use
The research project Wind, Forests, and Peatlands develops a model for land use assessment that supports the carbon neutrality targets by considering wind power, forest use and peatland restoration at the same time.
For the model, the project has developed a standardizing method for assessing the net carbon benefits of wind energy, forest management and peatland use, assessed the impacts of different methods on acceptability, and modelled suitable areas for these forms of land use.
“The approach can also be applied to other land use situations where complex and partly conflicting goals have to be considered, such as those related to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, energy production, economic benefits and human wellbeing,” says Anne Tolvanen, Professor at the Natural Resources Institute Finland and leader of the project.
Preliminary results suggest that the noise and landscape impacts of wind power can be reduced, for example, by leaving forests standing near settlements. Biodiversity can be protected by placing turbines in locations where biodiversity has already degraded, and the acceptability of land use could be supported by a compensation system targeted at forest owners.
Finnish research scalable to the world
During the past Government term, major efforts were made to promote climate work in the land use sector. Of the 150 climate projects that were funded, the last ones will completed by the end of 2024. What is special about the projects is their strong practical orientation and close cooperation with target groups, such as farmers and forest owners.
The projects include studies of soil and forest carbon sequestration, combating forest damage and voluntary carbon markets. The themes are highly topical internationally, and the results of many of these projects can be widely utilised in climate work outside Finland as well.
Mikko Pohjola, programme manager, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, email@example.com, +358504721150 (Catch the Carbon package)
Anne Tolvanen, professor, Natural Resources Institute Finland, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358295323782 (LandUseZero project and Climate-Smart Carbon Cycle research programme)
Olli-Pekka Ruuskanen, Research Director, PTT, email@example.com, +358406415732 (Carbon Nudges in Climate Wise Land Use in Agriculture and Forestry project)