Investing in shale oil is unwise and a new refinery will not benefit Estonia, Chairman of the Reform Party Kaja Kallas said on Thursday.
At the party's 25th anniversary gala evening, Kallas gave a speech saying the country should see climate neutrality as an opportunity to increase the competitiveness of its economy through clean energy. She also said that electricity produced from oil shale should be abandoned and significant investments made in sustainable transport and the living environment.
"Our child of concern is, of course, Ida-Viru County. We should start by admitting that investing in shale oil is not wise and we must work hard to make the necessary industrial turnaround in the area. Instead of investing €600 million in shale oil, that money should be invested in a way that will bring about lasting change," Kallas said.
Kallas believes the state could contribute to the creation of training centers in Ida-Viru County to help retrain people who would be made redundant by the new plans.
This would be financed by a new climate fund whose main purpose would be to provide financing for companies and public investments that lead to carbon neutrality or develop products and technologies that reduce carbon emissions.
Kallas added that the Climate Fund could also have the opportunity to make money. "We have seen various major renewable energy projects get stuck in the planning phase. As these difficulties are visible and known to everyone, it scares investors away. The state could take on the task of preparing a complete package which could then be put up for auction: for example, a wind or solar park of such capacity could be built here. Construction and power generation would remain a private responsibility. The funds obtained from privatization would then go back to into the fund to support new ideas," she said.
Adding: "We hear simplistic calls that climate goals require us to say goodbye to our current amenities. As if people were to give up on cars, room warmth, travel, eating meat, etc. Of course, responsible consumption is the right direction. But I am convinced that we will not achieve any broad change through oppression and denial. Instead of imposing new restrictions, we need to invest in a future economy that allows for an increase in the quality of life."
Editor: Helen Wright