The Ministry of the Environment has praised the outcome of the EU climate change agreement, which was reached in the small hours of Friday morning and resolves to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent in the next 15 years.
"These targets reckon with the need to protect the local habitat and people's health. They are ambitious enough to allow Europe to be competitive in the green economy sectors that are growing very fast and give the union a strong platform for the upcoming international climate change conference in December. The agreement is reasonable and takes into account that the companies will need time to adapt, as well as regional differences. So, among other things, it also offers financial assistance to poorer members for making the necessary investments," said Keit Pentus-Rosimannus, the Minister of the Environment.
She added that it was important for Estonia that the members be left the freedom to make their own individual choices in regard to how to reach the common targets. "We have proved that we can do a wonderful job of it: Estonia has sliced CO2 emissions in half in only 20 years. Our economy has, at the same time, doubled in size. Renewable sources already account for 25 percent of our total energy supply and are close to the EU target for 2030," she said, adding that the agreement is also good for the oil shale industry.
"The production of shale oil is a lot less polluting and creates less waste than burning the oil shale and so it helps us reach the ambitious targets. An opportunity to sell this product in the European market gives us a chance to make a very pollution-heavy industry more environmental friendly. The production of electricity creates twice as much CO2 as does that of oil. The use of water and amount of other waste products will also go down."
On Thursday, 28 EU leaders agreed in Brussels that the Union will keep at its ambitious path to fight climate change. The main targets are to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent by 2030, to generate 27 percent of the energy supply from renewable sources, and to improve the energy efficiency by another 27 percent.