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Climate change needs to be taken into account more in Estonia

Heatwave in Estonia.
Heatwave in Estonia. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The UN climate report, which was published on Monday, warns that extreme climate conditions are becoming more and more frequent. Climate change is endangering Estonia's nature as well, the report says.

The recent floods in Germany, devastating fires and the heatwave in Estonia are all related to extreme climate conditions, the report said. Even though each event can't be tied to climate change directly, it is clear that due to human impact, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent, University of Tartu geophysicist Piia Post says.

Post said that for this reason, architectural solutions that keep buildings cooler with less energy consumption should be used in construction.

"We can see now how a lot of class buildings are built. A class building has to be cooled down with electricity in the case of a heatwave, which means that the energy consumption increases significantly during these kinds of periods," Post said.

Deputy chancellor of the Ministry of the Environment, Kriti Klaas, says that in order to mitigate climate change, it is important to start using renewable energy sources. Klaas said the process is improving well in Estonia, the biggest challenge is turning the public transport system more environmentally friendly.

"We have made major decisions, such as the electrification of the railway and the construction of Rail Baltic. The question is how to get goods and people moving more on the rails so that we do not use our cars and therefore emit less carbon dioxide. Of course, also how to make public transport greener. How to get people to use public transport and how to introduce new technologies," Klaas said.

Piia Post added that it is inevitable at the individual level that we all need to reduce consumption.

"The less we consume, the less energy we consume. Any consumption is energy consumption, and if we can consume less, we must do so. We know that the whole world cannot live as we are living. Obviously, we live in a wasteful economy. We are expecting economic growth as if it was a 'white ship' that will save us," Post said.

Klaas responded that economic growth was nonetheless still a viable goal, although the state must consider its impact on the climate before making any decision, she said.

"What is needed is a change in the world of thought? What I am very pleased to see is that more and more entrepreneurs are also turning to the Ministry of the Environment and saying that we want to introduce more environmentally friendly solutions. We see that it is possible and we see that its competitive advantage," Klaas said

Klaas said that environmentally friendly businesses must gain market advantage.

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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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