Switching to climate neutrality is the greatest and chief goal of the European Commission. Why should the EU support those who are really pushing their wagon in the opposite direction, Keit Pentus-Rosimannus writes.
Do you know anyone who would invest in an abacus factory during a time the world is busy developing a functional quantum computer? I do not, while I would not be surprised in the case of the Estonian government. This would fit in nicely with the current policy of seriously discussing investing hundreds of millions of euros into the fossil fuel sector instead of taking a climate-friendly leap toward modern technology.
The oil shale industry has without doubt been important for Estonia. However, everyone even remotely up to speed on what is happening in the world realizes and knows that the time of polluting fossil fuels is ending. Major global banks no longer support investing in the sector. Influential international organizations and analysts warn against it based on top know-how.
At the same time, the Estonian government is trying to play both sides, asking for funds from the EU for a seeming climate leap with one hand, while shaking on a massive fossil fuel investment with the other.
Minister of Finance Martin Helme told ERR earlier in the week that "the government has clear political will to take it (the shale oil pre-refinery investment) forward."
What Helme did not say is how this "clear political will" is tying us down and could sideline us in terms of the most important change the EU will undertake in the coming years.
Climate policy is a field where the EU is a clear global leader. Switching to climate neutrality is the biggest and most important goal of the new European Commission. Why should the EU want to support those pushing the opposite agenda?
This could be a brilliant opportunity for Estonia to seize the day, take an economic and environmental leap akin to our digital ascension. I will not tire of giving this example because the parallel is so obvious. The digital state would not have been possible had the government simply seen it as a PR trick and maintained the status quo. The same applies to the climate leap.
Consistency and integrity of political decisions is especially important during periods of great change. One cannot try and move in every direction at once. If technologies of the future that can spare the climate and the environment are where we are headed, there is no logic in allocating hundreds of millions for the fossil fuel sector that is just a few decades from going extinct.
Editor: Marcus Turovski