On 3 October 2019, the Estonian government approved positions on Europe’s long-term strategic vision ‘A Clean Planet for All’, whereby Estonia in principle supports setting the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 for the entire European Union.
According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, investing in combating climate change is investing in our future, wealth, and wisdom. ‘I am convinced that every euro we invest in combating climate change and new technologies will give us multiple returns, both in wealth and in quality of life. This is supported by the SEI Tallinn analysis released earlier this week. Thanks to the analysis, we have a road map on how to invest wisely in combating climate change,’ the prime minister said. The prime minister also considered it important to raise awareness, so that people would make environmentally sound decisions in their daily consumption, transport, and nutrition choices.
According to Rene Kokk, Minister of the Environment, Estonia must have sufficient flexibility in setting sectoral targets and in use of measures. ‘The specific characters and challenges of the various regions of the European Union must also be taken into account. We believe that regions which are more dependent on carbon-intensive economy must be supported by measures to create new jobs,’ Kokk noted.
Earlier this week, SEI Tallinn and OÜ Finantsakadeemia published their ‘Analysis of Opportunities for Increasing the Estonian Climate Ambition’, which mapped out the necessary measures to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 – what changes should be made to get there and what their impacts would be. Estonia would be able to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 by implementing the actions listed in the analysis. This requires contributions from the public, private, and third sectors. With strategically wise decisions, these investments will be profitable in the long run.
The government considers it vital that the specific characters of the member states and regions are taken into account and that adequate transitional measures are taken to support the achievement of climate neutrality. States must retain the right to choose the appropriate means to achieve the objectives, including sovereign tax decisions to achieve climate neutrality.
Estonia also considers it important that the transition to climate neutrality takes place gradually and that attention is paid to reducing possible negative social impacts. There is a great deal of work to do to find suitable and environmentally friendly technologies to reduce, capture, and recycle carbon emissions. The same goes for introduction of alternative fuels, improving the energy performance of buildings, and storing renewable energy.
The Estonian people consider it important to address climate issues. According to Eurobarometer results published in September, 85 per cent of Estonians support the fulfillment of climate-neutrality in the European economy by 2050.
The aim of the European long-term strategy is to take on a leading role in global climate-related actions. The strategy defines the long-term direction of the EU’s climate and energy policy towards a near-zero greenhouse gas emission economy by 2050. The transition must be socially fair and cost-effective.