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The climate and energy committee received an overview of Estonia’s potential for achieving climate neutrality

30. September 2019 - 18:00

Stenbock House, 30 September 2019 – The government's climate and energy committee received an overview of the analysis explaining how Estonia could achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and what its potential costs would be.

According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the analysis showed that moving towards climate neutrality is betting on the future. ‘Every euro invested in combating climate change is an investment in prosperity and smartness that generates dividends in terms of innovation and quality of life. We have a responsibility to present and future generations, and these steps cannot be viewed as a mere expense. Everything we do today and in the coming decades for the benefit of the Earth and our environment is a contribution to the wisdom, endurance, and prosperity of our future,’ the prime minister said.

According to Rene Kokk, Minister of the Environment, it is possible to achieve an economy with a low greenhouse gas emission by investing wisely. ‘We need to look for environmentally friendly solutions in the industrial, transport, and energy sectors. We have talented scientists, who can provide clever solutions that could also be used in other parts of the world in the future. These are very important decisions with significant financial implications that still require thorough and substantive discussion,’ the Minister of the Environment said.

The committee was presented with the ‘Analysis of Opportunities for Increasing the Estonian Climate Ambition’ by SEI Tallinn and Finantsakadeemia OÜ, which will be presented to the press tomorrow at 9 AM in the Ministry of the Environment. The study explained how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 – what changes should be made to get there and what their impacts would be. It also outlined how much and where the private, public, and non-profit sectors have to contribute.

Estonia would be able to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 by implementing the actions listed in the analysis. For that purpose, the public, private, and third sectors would have to invest around 17 billion euros in the current value of currency over these years. With strategically wise decisions, these investments would be profitable in the long run.

In addition, the government committee continued the discussion of Eesti Energia’s plan to build a new Enefit shale oil plant and the plan to build an oil shale pre-refinery by Eesti Energia and Viru Keemia Grupp. The committee instructed the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to analyse various options for co-financing the shale oil pre-refinery. The state budget strategy 2021–2024 process will include the discussion of whether and how the state plans to support the pre-refinery investment.

The committee decided to make research and development of energy technologies a state priority to support climate goals in the field of energy.

According to Taavi Aas, Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, it is reasonable to move towards cleaner energy production step by step, without damaging Estonia's energy security and jobs in Ida-Viru County. ‘Today, oil shale provides most of Estonia's electricity, export income, and jobs and bread to thousands of people. So we need to move further along the value chain and produce oil shale products with higher value added and lower environmental footprint than before,’ he added. With properly planned actions, it is also in line with the long-term goal of climate neutrality.

Discussions also started on proposals to ease restrictions on renewable energy development. The issue will be further discussed at a cabinet meeting in October.

The climate and energy committee is chaired by the prime minister and its permanent members are the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Education and Research, the Minister of Defence, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Other ministers will attend a committee meeting when the topic requires it. The committee submits its proposals to a government sitting or a cabinet meeting.

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