ERR News live-streamed two panel discussions at the annual Arvamusfestival (Festival of Opinions) at Paide on Friday afternoon, which can be watched again via the video links below.
Hosted by the British Embassy in Estonia, the first panel talked about the future for green transport, ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), and the second looked at NATO and the Baltic States in a discussion held in collaboration with think-tank the International Center for Defense and Security (ICDS).
Green Transport Panel discussion
Transport has a huge impact on the climate: Global emissions from road transport are rising faster than any other sector, while car ownership is expected to double by 2040 when compared with 2015, and emissions from cars and vans currently account for 7 percent of the global total, organizers say via a press release.
All new cars and vans globally will need to be zero emission by 2040 or earlier. The U.K. says it is going further and faster than ever to de-carbonize transport sector and has taken an historic step to stop sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030.
Zero emission vehicles are already cheaper to run than diesel or petrol cars, technology is developing fast, and they will be soon cheaper to buy than other cars, as well as bringing cleaner air to the streets and highways, and cutting down on noise pollution.
The Green Transport panel discussion starts at 4 p.m. at the festival's Earth Area. It has been organized in cooperation with the Environmental Investment Center (Keskkonnainvesteeringute Keskus) and falls ahead of the two-week COP26 conference in Glasgow, Scotland, starting October 31.
Two of the panelists have come from the U.K. for the event and will be sharing their experiences implementing electric vehicles in their local government over the past decade. Fraser Crichton, Corporate Fleet Manager at Dundee City Council, Scotland, and Peter Marland, Council Leader at Milton Keynes, England, will talk with Estonian experts and try to answer what the direct and indirect impacts of zero emission vehicles are for consumer, public space and national infrastructure as a whole.
The event started at 4 p.m. Estonian time and can be viewed by clicking the video link below, or the link here.
The moderator was Ragmar Saksing, GreenTech Cluster Manager at Tehnopol, wile the panelists were Andrus Treier (Estonian Environment Investment Centre, CEO), Kai Realo (Circle K, VP / BU leader Estonia) and Tauri Tuvikene (Senior Researcher at the Centre of Landscape and Culture at Tallinn University, in addition to Peter Marland and Fraser Crichton.
NATO and the Baltic States: 'Taking security for granted?'
This panel discussion was organized in collaboration with the ICDS.
Following a long period of focusing primarily on expeditionary warfare, NATO is having to relearn old skills related to deterrence and collective defense, and is considering how to apply these in new strategic circumstances.
The panel discussion can be watched here, or by clicking the video link below.
ERR News has also published an opinion piece by ICDS head of defense policy and strategy program Tony Lawrence, which can be read here.
Background to main NATO activity in Estonia
Estonia joined NATO in 2004, along with Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
NATO went on to set up four Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroups following the 2016 Warsaw Summit, in all three Baltic States, and in Poland. The summit itself had followed the 2014 annexation of the Crimea from Ukraine and by the Russian Federation, along with the ongoing insurgency warfare in eastern Ukraine which began in the same year.
Estonia's eFP is based at Tapa and is U.K.-led, with Danish, French and Belgian units having contributed since it became a reality in 2017, along with the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF).
In a separate mission which predates the eFP, NATO Baltic Air Policing jets fly out of Ämari Air Base, with NATO states which have the capacity serving on a rotational basis. Currently, the mission is held by the Italian Air Force, and the air forces of the Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, the U.K. and others have held the role in the recent past.
U.S.-led activities have also regularly taken place in Estonia in recent years.
British Ambassador to Estonia Mr. Ross Allen also hosted a climate-related conversation with Reform MP Yoko Alender at a reception Friday, also in Paide.
The Arvamusfestival's official site (in Estonian) is here. Paide hosts the festival, as per tradition. 2021 has been a busy year for the Järva County town – many of the main February 24 Independence Day celebrations and ceremonies were also based there, while the Victory Day (Võidupüha) parade less than two months ago was also held in the town.
Arvamusfestival lasts three days, Friday, August 13 to Sunday, August 15, with over 130 discussions to be held across 17 zones at the Paide Vallimägi, the grounds of the 13th Century castle ruins.
Editor: Andrew Whyte