Finland’s Economy Minister Olli Rehn has announced plans to prohibit the use of coal in energy production by 2030 – possibly by means of a statutory prohibition.

In an interview with the local daily Helsingin Sanomat on November 3, the minister said the country’s energy and climate strategy currently under preparation recommends that the use of coal be stopped.

The government is slated to unveil its new strategy in March 2017.

As reported by The Helsinki Times, Finland would become the first country in the world to resort to a statutory prohibition to stop the use of coal in energy production.

Coal is a particularly emissions-intensive source of energy, and countries around the world are seeking to reduce its use in electricity production. Statutory prohibitions, however, have only been adopted at the regional level, such as in Oregon, the United States, and Ontario, Canada.

In the interview with the daily, Rehn explained the prohibition would be comparable to the granting of voting rights to women. It would also allow the country to establish itself as the home country of cleantech, he envisions.

However, Finnish Energy (ET) has expressed its dismay with the proposal.

“The discussion about prohibiting the use of coal under law is inexplicable. Such an effort would not succeed without offering substantial compensation [to energy producers]. I fail to understand how the central administration can spend so recklessly and be so unappreciative of the situation in the energy markets,” said Jukka Leskelä, the managing director of ET.

“The use of coal has already been reduced to a fraction of what it was previously with the current system of steering and corporate investments, and the trend will remain the same in the future,” he added.

Coal accounted for approximately 8% of the electricity produced in Finland in 2015, according to ET.

Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency quoted Rehn as saying that giving up coal is the “only way to reach international climate goals”.

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