Estonian Fund for Nature: Green turn proposals unambitious

Piret Väinsalu.
Piret Väinsalu. Source: Estonian Fund for Nature

The Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF) published 13 proposals to the European Commission's "Fit for 55" package. ELF finds the Commission's proposals unambitious and that change should happen faster in the oil shale industry and forestry.

ELF climate expert Piret Väinsalu said that instead of "Fit for 55," it would be more suitable to talk about the target of keeping global warming inside 1.5 degrees.

"The European Union's contribution to the Paris Agreement should go beyond what has been proposed by the Commission and based on a fair comparison with the rest of the world. This means that considering the EU's historical role in accelerating global warming, carbon footprint per capita and the capacity of member states, the EU should aim to reduce greenhouses gas emissions by at least 65 percent by 2030," the fund communicated.

ELF finds that in order to do its fair share, Estonia needs to take a frank look at its number one polluter, the oil shale industry, as well as forestry. "Therefore, Estonia needs to avoid defending its oil shale and timber industries at European Commission climate package negotiations. Instead, Estonia should concentrate on opportunities the green turn will bring for Estonian companies and people."

"The fastest way to contain climate change and the most honest course of action would be the abolition of free pollution quotas to allow Europe's "polluter-pays principle" to take effect. Right now, free quotas are made available to the oil industry, meaning that EU climate instruments have facilitated the pollution it has created for over a decade. EU climate policy at times seems to counteract its own goals as industrial companies have benefited from the system to the tune of billions over the years. This is one important aspect the new packages needs to change," Väinsalu said.

Head of ELF's forestry program Siim Kuresoo said that the Commission's current renewable energy directive proposal doesn't go far enough and leaves the door open for burning wood in power plant furnaces.

"A report by the EU Joint Research Center (JCR) reveals that only a scenario where a part of chipped branches is used for power generation can be held to be beneficial for climate and diversity. This realization should be reflected in the EU's new climate targets. The best way to achieve it is not to treat timber as a source of renewable energy," Kuresoo said.

ELF's proposals have been sent to the government's green policy managing committee, Riigikogu groups, several Riigikogu committees, climate policy officials in Estonia and Brussels and MEPs.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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