Environment Council to discuss UN Climate Change Conference, Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles

Ministry of Transport and CommunicationsMinistry of the Environment
Publication date 16.10.2023 9.23 | Published in English on 16.10.2023 at 10.01
Press release

The EU ministers responsible for the environment and climate change issues will meet in Luxembourg on 16 October to discuss the EU’s objectives for the negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Dubai. The conclusions to be adopted by the Environment Council will constitute the EU’s objective for the Climate Change Conference. Finland’s representative at the Environment Council will be Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen.

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) will be organised in Dubai on 30 November–12 December. The key themes of the conference are emission reductions, climate change adaptation and climate finance, with a particular focus on financing arrangements for climate damages.
At the political level, COP28 will culminate with the first Global Stocktake (GST) of the Paris Agreement to assess the implementation of the agreement and achievement of the targets. The output of the Global Stocktake will also guide the process to set the next national emission reduction targets by 2025.
The aim of the Paris Agreement is to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the warming to below 1.5 degrees.
“The extreme weather events we have seen this year and the global temperature rise are alarming examples of what is happening, and an indication that we need to step up the level of ambition in mitigating climate change. The most important thing to do is speed up the process to phase out fossil fuels and increase the production of clean energy,” says Minister of Climate and the Environment Kai Mykkänen.

Directive aims for better treatment of urban wastewater

The ministers are to agree on the position of the Council, i.e. of the Member States, on the Commission’s proposal for a Directive concerning urban wastewater treatment.

The aim of the proposal amending the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive is to further improve the treatment of wastewater and reduce emissions, including nutrients and micro-pollutants, to waters. The proposal introduces extended producer responsibility (EPR) for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, which are the most significant sources of harmful micro-pollutants in wastewater.

The proposal also aims to mitigate climate change and improve the energy efficiency of wastewater treatment facilities so that facilities treating wastewater from population centres with more than 10,000 residents must together produce the same amount of energy as they consume, i.e. be energy neutral, by 2040. 

In Finland the measures included in the proposal would reduce the emissions of micro-pollutants to waters and tighten the nitrogen removal requirements of the wastewater treatments facilities. Meeting the energy neutrality targets would require investments in biogas production as well.

Regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles aims to improve energy efficiency of vehicles and reduce emissions

The ministers should also agree on the Council’s position concerning the Commission proposal for a Regulation setting CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles. The Commission has proposed stricter emission standards for new heavy-duty vehicles to be placed on the market. The aim of the legislation is that vehicle manufacturers would improve the energy efficiency of vehicles and growing numbers of vehicles coming to the market would be zero-emission or low emission vehicles.

For Finland, it is important that the 90% emission reduction target set by the Commission for 2040 will not be raised so that the Regulation will allow room for several different fuel systems in the long term.

The vehicles used in the heaviest vehicle combinations are in a key position in this respect as ensuring their availability is particularly important for Finland. 


COP28 Climate Change Conference
Marjo Nummelin
Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 227

Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive
Ari Kangas
Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment
tel. +358 295 250 340

Regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles
Sara Österberg
Senior Officer, Ministry of Transport and Communications
tel. +358 295 342 041