Kallas at COP26: Estonia has a lot to offer in terms of climate neutrality

Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets Kaja Kallas, Prime Minister of Estonia, at COP26 World Leaders Summit.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson greets Kaja Kallas, Prime Minister of Estonia, at COP26 World Leaders Summit. Source: Karwai Tang/ UK Government

Estonia has a lot to offer in terms of the transition to climate neutrality, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said in her speech at the United Nation's climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow on Monday.

Kallas emphasized Estonia's experience with the digital revolution, smart solutions from start-ups, and ways to ensure access to global environmental data for all those in need.

This year Estonia has allocated €1.5 million euros to international climate change collaboration, in addition to development co-operation funds, to help other countries develop.

The prime minister said the country is driven to help because Estonia's transition after the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 has not been easy.

"Estonia had a very difficult starting position, being almost completely dependent on energy from our national fossil fuel – oil shale. We have already reduced our emissions by around 70 percent. Green transition is a reality in Estonia," said Kallas.

She added that Estonia aims to stop the production of electricity from oil shale by 2035 and phase out oil shale-based energy entirely by 2040.

"We have been helped by the collective political will of the EU, its carbon market, and its support schemes. But the change is driven and implemented by the Estonian people, their openness to reforms, their digital skills and a vision for the future," Kallas said.

Speaking about digital skills, Kallas highlighted Estonia's new initiative in the framework of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – "Data for the Environment Alliance" or DEAL. 

She called on everyone to join this global initiative to improve data management capacity worldwide.

Kallas' full statement can be read here.

Estonia's COP26 goals

COP26: The action zone and globe at the Hydro, Glasgow. Source: Alan Harvey/ UK Government

Estonia heads into the COP26 United Nations climate change conference, which started on Sunday (October 31), with the same goals as the European Union. 

The Ministry of Environment said Estonia is working to achieve the European Union's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990.

Ministry undersecretary Kristi Klaas said the meeting will be successful for Estonia if countries can agree on a transparent plan about how to reach this goal.

This means that all countries should have their own plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, she said.

Another issue is funding transparency. Klaas said developed countries have pledged €100 billion a year to help the most vulnerable adapt to climate change but "this goal has not yet been met".

COP conferences bring together almost every country to discuss the earth's climate.

This year, the 26th event is held in Glasgow in Scotland and started on Sunday.

The government tweeted its goals on Monday.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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