Reinsalu: Glad to have US back in the climate change fold

Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa).
Foreign minister Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa). Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) has expressed pleasure at the return of the United States into the climate diplomacy fold.

"I am pleased that the U.S. is returning to international cooperation aimed at curbing climate change," Reinsalu said, BNS reports, likely referring to the recent change in administration which saw the exit of Donald Trump, whose administration had rolled back many international and domestic carbon emissions regulations and agreements, as POTUS.

"The U.S. is the most important ally and partner for Estonia and the EU," Reinsalu continued, following a remote-linked meeting with EU foreign ministers which also featured U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry Friday.

Reinsalu: With UNSC post, Estonia has key climate change role too

Reinsalu said that EU-U.S. cooperation with the rest of the world in CO2 emissions' reduction was particularly crucial ahead of the UN's Climate Change Conference later this year.

As a temporary member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2020-2021, Reinsalu noted the country's key role in acknowledging links between climate change and security.

"The UNSC has a mandate for preserving global peace and international security. It is crucial that the most important decision-making body in the UN should also approach climate-related security risks in a systematic way," Reinsalu went on.

Change on the domestic front with regard to climate has also been taking place. Not only do the Reform Party's current negotiations with the Center Party alone leave Isamaa out of the picture in coalition terms for the first time in several years, but its coalition partner since 2019, the Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE), the most avowedly climate-change skeptical of Estonia's political parties, will likely also be out-of-office from as early as next week.

Meeting came ahead of full EU foreign ministers' meeting Monday

The meeting, aimed at touching base with the new U.S. administration, was organized on Denmark's initiative and comes in advance of Monday's EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting on Monday, where EU ministers are due to exchange views on climate and energy diplomacy, focusing on promoting the external dimension of the European Green Deal.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and First Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans joined John Kerry, Urmas Reinsalu and the other EU foreign affairs ministers, BNS reports, as did Estonia's ambassador at large for climate and energy policy Kaja Tael.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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