Browsing by Subject "greenhouse gas emissions"

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  • Ervola, Asta (Helsingfors universitet, 2010)
    Agriculture’s contribution to climate change is controversial as it is a significant source of greenhouse gases but also a sink of carbon. Hence its economic and technological potential to mitigate climate change have been argued to be noteworthy. However, social profitability of emission mitigation is a result from factors among emission reductions such as surface water quality impact or profit from production. Consequently, to value comprehensive results of agricultural climate emission mitigation practices, these co-effects to environment and economics should be taken into account. The objective of this thesis was to develop an integrated economic and ecological model to analyse the social welfare of crop cultivation in Finland on distinctive cultivation technologies, conventional tillage and conservation tillage (no-till). Further, we ask whether it would be privately or socially profitable to allocate some of barley cultivation for alternative land use, such as green set-aside or afforestation, when production costs, GHG’s and water quality impacts are taken into account. In the theoretical framework we depict the optimal input use and land allocation choices in terms of environmental impacts and profit from production and derive the optimal tax and payment policies for climate and water quality friendly land allocation. The empirical application of the model uses Finnish data about production cost and profit structure and environmental impacts. According to our results, given emission mitigation practices are not self-evidently beneficial for farmers or society. On the contrary, in some cases alternative land allocation could even reduce social welfare, profiting conventional crop cultivation. This is the case regarding mineral soils such as clay and silt soils. On organic agricultural soils, climate mitigation practices, in this case afforestation and green fallow give more promising results, decreasing climate emissions and nutrient runoff to water systems. No-till technology does not seem to profit climate mitigation although it does decrease other environmental impacts. Nevertheless, the data behind climate emission mitigation practices impact to production and climate is limited and partly contradictory. More specific experiment studies on interaction of emission mitigation practices and environment would be needed. Further study would be important. Particularly area specific production and environmental factors and also food security and safety and socio-economic impacts should be taken into account.
  • Lötjönen, Sanna Annika; Ollikainen, Markku Martti Olavi (2017)
    We investigate crop rotation with legumes from economic and environmental perspectives by asking how effective they are at providing profits and reducing nutrient runoff and greenhouse gas emissions compared with monoculture cultivation. We study this effectiveness in three alternative policy regimes: the free market optimum, the Finnish agri-environmental scheme, and socially optimal cultivation, and also design policy instruments to achieve the socially optimal outcomes in land use and fertilization. We first develop an analytical model to describe crop rotation and the role of legumes, and examine its implications for water and climate policies. Drawing on Finnish agricultural data, we then use numerical simulations and show that shifting from monoculture cultivation to crop rotation with legumes provides economically and environmentally better outcomes. Crop rotation with legumes also reduces the variability in profits caused by stochastic weather. The optimal instruments implementing the social optimum depend on nutrient and climate damage (nitrogen tax), as well as carbon sequestration and nutrient reduction benefits (buffer strip subsidy).
  • Mäki, Ilona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Biochar is a porous, carbon-rich material, made from organic material by pyrolysis in low oxygen conditions, and it can be used to sequester carbon into the soil. This review aspires to give an overview of the economic dimensions of using biochar in Finnish (Boreal and sub-boreal) forests. A literature review was conducted to collect and summarize the information about studies and applications elsewhere, and how we could possibly apply them into Finnish forest ecosystems. This thesis is done as part of Helsus Co-Creation Lab -project, where our group was tasked with looking into how biochar could enhance biodiversity in soil and accelerate transformation to low carbon economy. From this larger topic, this paper is looking into the economic side, and whether it is economically viable to use biochar to enhance and uphold biodiversity. This is evaluated by reviewing and categorizing 164 papers and conducting a literature review. My conclusions are that the current biochar applications show lower economic efficiency than other carbon dioxide abatement technologies. The stability of biochar in soil is a key factor, as the half-lives of biochars may not be as long as commonly suggested. Furthermore, competition for biomass resource use can restrict the availability of feedstock, and make it more expensive. Subsidies for biochar application are required if biochar is to be- come a significant part of the national or global climate mitigation policy. The results in different articles are quite variable and there is currently no standard approach to them. There is a need for specific research on what kind of biochar benefits what soil and vegetation, which is expensive. A primary goal is to incorporate a consistent and standardized testing or analysis method for biochar stability into the certification programs run and administered by the International and the European Biochar Initiatives. In the foreseeable future, biochar by itself is unlikely to play a significant role in climate mitigation strategies. Biochar might be just one of several alternatives in a bundle strategy to re- duce carbon emissions. However, its potential use must still be researched more.
  • Hirvonen, Janne; Heljo, Juhani; Jokisalo, Juha; Kurvinen, Antti; Saari, Arto; Niemelä, Tuomo; Sankelo, Paula; Kosonen, Risto (Elsevier, 2021)
    Sustainable Cities and Society 70 (2021), 102896
    Finland and the European Union aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 80–100 % before 2050. This requires drastic changes in all emissions-generating sectors. In the building sector, all new buildings are required to be nearly zero energy buildings. However, 79 % of buildings in Finland were built before 2000, meaning that they lack heat recovery and suffer from badly insulated facades. This study presents four large-scale building energy retrofit scenarios, showing the emission reduction potential in the whole Finnish building stock. Six basic building types with several age categories and heating systems were used to model the energy demand in the building stock. Retrofitted building configurations were chosen using simulation-based multi-objective optimisation and combined according to a novel building stock model. After large-scale building retrofits, the national district heating demand was reduced by 25–63 % compared to the business as usual development scenario. Despite a large increase in the number of heat pumps in the system, retrofits in buildings with direct electric heating can prevent the rise of national electricity consumption. CO2 emissions in the different scenarios were reduced by 50–75 % by 2050 using current emissions factors.
  • Manner, Tupuna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    International maritime transportation of goods is an inevitable part of global trade and economics. Over 90 percent of global trade are seaborne. Shipping is considered as cost-effective transport mode and it emits less greenhouse gases than e.g. freight or air cargo. Global trade is expected to rise. Shipping industry must be able to answer to the increasing demand of delivering shipping services while adapting to sustainability requirements such as reducing GHG emissions. Shipping interests both public and private sectors and engages complex cross-border supply chain stakeholders from various interest groups. International sustainability and maritime policies are affecting shipping industry from multiple levels. Both the European Union and the United Nations are implementing new normative tools and mechanisms to enhance a sustainability trajectory into all areas of business and society. Traditional treaties and conventions are supplemented by new objectives to meet the overarching sustainable development and economic growth requirements. Three complex subject matters are discussed – the international maritime regulatory scheme, climate and sustainability regulatory scheme and, the wicked problem of reducing shipping industry GHG emissions. An interdisciplinary method is used. The overarching research theme is – what actions and measures are needed in order to safeguard that shipping industry can answer (i) to the increasing demand of delivering shipping services and, (ii) to the increasing sustainability requirements. Two research questions are asked: 1) who governs international maritime affairs and shipping sustainability objectives in the context of shipping GHG emissions reductions, and 2) how to implement the GHG reductions objectives in the shipping industry? In order to attain sustainable development objectives into shipping industry practices, innovative administrative solutions and governance models are needed from the maritime affairs policy makers on both national and international level. Interdisciplinary and innovative solutions are needed to tackle emissions reductions objectives.
  • Taipale, Sanna (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    The objective of the literature review was to study the background of the greenhouse effect and map earlier studies of the greenhouse gas emissions of beef and other meat products. The objective of the literature review was also to study life cycle assessment used in previous studies to calculate the carbon footprint of food products, following the ISO 14040-standard. The aim of the experimental work was to calculate the carbon footprint of the beef processing chain in Finland from the farm gate to the consumer´s table. In addition the aim was to understand the importance of processing chain emissions compared to the whole beef production chain and different steps in the processing chain. The functional unit in the study was 1 kg of beef. The work was carried out by studying in detail one beef processing chain in Finland. Emissions were calculated based on real processing data from the collaborating company. The data was collected with an information form by visiting two production plants in the collaborating company and conducting further interviews. The carbon footprint of the beef processing chain was 1240 g CO2-ekv/kg meat. Most emissions were produced by refining (310 g CO2-ekv/kg meat), slaughtering (280 g CO2-ekv/kg meat) and transporting meat products to the consumer (210 g CO2-ekv/kg meat). The processing chain represents only 4 % of total beef production chain emissions as the emission from birth to the farm gate are, according to literature, over 30 000 g CO2-ekv/kg meat. In the future, the carbon footprint of the beef could be reduced mainly by developing the process from the birth to the farm gate. The results were very similar to previous research of the chicken processing chain in Finland (Katajajuuri et al. 2008). This was as expected because there were no significant differences in the processing chain. Previous studies of the beef processing chain were not available.
  • Ekholm, Petri; Ollikainen, Markku; Ala-Harja, Venla; Begum, Khaleda; Huttunen, Markus; Järvenranta, Kirsi; Kiirikki, Mikko; Kuosa, Harri; Lötjönen, Sanna; Riihimäki, Juha; Taskinen, Antti; Tikkanen, Tommi Petteri; Yli-Halla, Markku (Suomen ympäristökeskus, 2022)
    Suomen ympäristökeskuksen raportteja
  • Kalu, Subin; Kulmala, Liisa; Zrim, Jure; Peltokangas, Kenneth; Tammeorg, Priit; Rasa, Kimmo; Kitzler, Barbara; Pihlatie, Mari; Karhu, Kristiina (2022)
    Biochars have potential to provide agricultural and environmental benefits such as increasing soil carbon sequestration, crop yield, and soil fertility while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and nitrogen leaching. However, whether these effects will sustain for the long-term is still unknown. Moreover, these effects were observed mostly in highly weathered (sub-) tropical soils with low pH and soil organic carbon (SOC). The soils in northern colder boreal regions have typically higher SOC and undergo continuous freeze-thaw cycles. Therefore, effects of biochars in these regions may be different from those observed in other climates. However, only a few biochar studies have been conducted in boreal regions. We aimed to assess the long-term effects of biochars on GHG emissions, yield-normalized non-CO2 GHG emissions (GHGI), and N dynamics in boreal soils. For this, we collected data from four existing Finnish biochar field experiments during 2018 growing season. The experiments were Jokioinen (Stagnosol), Qvidja (Cambisol), Viikki-1 (Stagnosol), and Viikki-2 (Umbrisol), where biochars were applied, 2, 2, 8, and 7 years before, respectively. The GHG emissions, crop yield, soil mineral N, and microbial biomass were measured from all fields, whereas, additional measurements of plant N contents and N leaching were conducted in Qvidja. Biochars increased CO2 efflux in Qvidja and Viikki-2, whereas, there were no statistically significant effects of biochars on the fluxes of N2O or CH4, but in Qvidja, biochars tended to reduce N2O fluxes at the peak emission points. The tendency of biochars to reduce N2O emissions seemed higher in soils with higher silt content and lower initial soil carbon. We demonstrated the long-term effects of biochar on increased crop yield by 65% and reduced GHGI by 43% in Viikki-2. In Qvidja, the significant increment of plant biomass, plant N uptake, nitrogen use efficiency, and crop yield, and reduction of NO3--N leaching by the spruce biochar is attributed to its ability to retain NO3--N, which could be linked to its significantly higher specific surface area. The ability of the spruce biochar to retain soil NO3--N and hence to reduce N losses, has implications for sustainable management of N fertilization.
  • Myllyviita, Tanja; Hurmekoski, Elias; Kunttu, Janni (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022)
    Carbon Balance and Management
    Background: The building and construction sectors represent a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Replacing concrete and steel with wood is one potential strategy to decrease emissions. On product level, the difference in fossil emissions per functional unit can be quantified with displacement factors (DFs), i.e., the amount of fossil emission reduction achieved per unit of wood use when replacing a functionally equivalent product. We developed DFs for substitution cases representative of typical wood-frame and non-wood frame multi-story buildings in the Nordic countries, considering the expected decarbonization of the energy sector and increased recycling of construction products. Results: Most of the DFs were positive, implying lower fossil emissions, if wood construction is favored. However, variation in the DFs was substantial and negative DFs implying higher emissions were also detected. All DFs showed a decreasing trend, i.e., the GHG mitigation potential of wood construction significantly decreases under future decarbonization and increased recycling assumptions. If only the decarbonization of the energy sector was considered, the decrease was less dramatic compared to the isolated impact of the recycling of construction materials. The mitigation potential of wood construction appears to be the most sensitive to the GHG emissions of concrete, whereas the emissions of steel seem less influential, and the emissions of wood have only minor influence. Conclusions: The emission reduction due to the decarbonization of the energy sector and the recycling of construction materials is a favorable outcome but one that reduces the relative environmental benefit of wood construction, which ought to be considered in forest-based mitigation strategies. Broadening the system boundary is required to assess the overall substitution impacts of increased use of wood in construction, including biogenic carbon stock changes in forest ecosystems and in wood products over time, as well as price-mediated market responses.
  • Siintola, Asko (Helsingfors universitet, 2012)
    Climate change has been found to be one of the most serious challenges humankind has to face in the future. The link between climate change and forests is based on trees’ ability to use carbon dioxide as a raw material for growth. The growing stock sequesters carbon dioxide from the air to itself and ultimately as the forest is harvested the carbon stored is released and it moves from carbon pool of forests to another carbon pool. As the concept of emissions’ trading is applied to the investigation, a price for sequestered and released carbon can be determined. With the market price for carbon dioxide known, a net present value for the revenues and costs during the forest’s rotation period can be calculated. Using wood for different purposes, however, can result in various climatic benefits. These climatic benefits are described in this study by carbon displacement factors which can be used in determining how much the costs of releasing carbon from forests can be deducted. This study investigates the significance of forest management in a stand level from the climate change mitigation point of view in three Norway spruce (Picea abies, L.) and three Scots pine (Pinus Sylvestris, L.) stands as the previous carbon accounting aspects are taken into consideration. Stand Management Assistant (SMA) software is used in the optimization and simulation calculations. The SMA software is used for calculating the carbon accounting net present values and average carbon storages during the rotation periods of the stands included in the study with different intensities of bioenergy biomass harvesting. This way the level of biomass harvesting for bioenergy that returns with the highest net present value for carbon accounting and/or the highest average carbon storage can be calculated. The calculations are made with two interest rates, two carbon dioxide prices and with climatic benefits from bioenergy or with climatic benefits from bioenergy and forest products included. According to the results it can be stated that the intensification of forest biomass recovery for bioenergy production does not always result in the optimal climate change mitigation. The use of Norway spruce is considered of being the most potential forest-based bioenergy source in Finland. As the climatic benefits from bioenergy use were only taken into consideration, the intensification of recovery of Norway spruce biomass for bioenergy seemed to be most profitable. If, however, the climatic benefits from forest products are included in the investigation as well, the bioenergy use of Norway spruce is no longer optimal for the climate change mitigation. The climatic benefits from Norway spruce material use exceed the benefits from bioenergy use. This means that biomass recovery for bioenergy production does not necessarily result in optimal climate change mitigation.
  • Nevalainen, Olli; Niemitalo, Olli; Fer, Istem; Juntunen, Antti; Mattila, Tuomas; Koskela, Olli; Kukkamäki, Joni; Höckerstedt, Layla; Mäkelä, Laura; Jarva, Pieta; Heimsch, Laura; Vekuri, Henriikka; Kulmala, Liisa; Stam, Åsa; Kuusela, Otto; Gerin, Stephanie; Viskari, Toni; Vira, Julius; Hyväluoma, Jari; Tuovinen, Juha-Pekka; Lohila, Annalea; Laurila, Tuomas; Heinonsalo, Jussi; Aalto, Tuula; Kunttu, Iivari; Liski, Jari (Copernicus GmbH, 2022)
    Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems
    Better monitoring, reporting, and verification (MRV) of the amount, additionality, and persistence of the sequestered soil carbon is needed to understand the best carbon farming practices for different soils and climate conditions, as well as their actual climate benefits or cost efficiency in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. This paper presents our Field Observatory Network (FiON) of researchers, farmers, companies, and other stakeholders developing carbon farming practices. FiON has established a unified methodology towards monitoring and forecasting agricultural carbon sequestration by combining offline and near-real-time field measurements, weather data, satellite imagery, modeling, and computing networks. FiON's first phase consists of two intensive research sites and 20 voluntary pilot farms testing carbon farming practices in Finland. To disseminate the data, FiON built a web-based dashboard called the Field Observatory (v1.0,, last access: 3 February 2022). The Field Observatory is designed as an online service for near-real-time model–data synthesis, forecasting, and decision support for the farmers who are able to monitor the effects of carbon farming practices. The most advanced features of the Field Observatory are visible on the Qvidja site, which acts as a prototype for the most recent implementations. Overall, FiON aims to create new knowledge on agricultural soil carbon sequestration and effects of carbon farming practices as well as provide an MRV tool for decision support.