Estonia needs to nearly double CO2 emissions cuts in some sectors

Parking spot for CO2 efficient cars.
Parking spot for CO2 efficient cars. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Estonia is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors that have not been subject to quota trading by 24 percent instead of the previous 13 percent to hit "Fit for 55" goals.

A European Commission bill sees the reference level of Estonia's greenhouse gas reduction in transport, agriculture, low-volume energy, waste treatment and industrial processes by 2030 compared to 2005 hiked from 13 percent to 24 percent," Katrin Juhandi, deputy director of the European Union secretariat of the Government Office, told ERR.

The proposal is included in the Effort Sharing Regulation in which member states can decide how the cut should be distributed between the fields.

"The reference levels are calculated based on prosperity and cost-effectiveness of curtailing emissions," Juhandi said, adding that some countries' reference levels can be as high as 50 percent.

"If in 2019, the total emissions of said sectors came to 6.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent, the current target would see them brought down to 5.39 million tons by 2030. The new 24 percent target would see the emissions dialed back to 4.7 million tons. It is important to note that member states have been set a trajectory for reaching the goal that includes hitting annual reference levels," Juhandi explained.

The emissions trading system covering energy-intensive industrial sectors does not have national goals. A EU-level goal of reducing emissions by 61 percent compared to the 2005 level has been adopted. The recent goal was to curb emissions by 43 percent.

In land use and forestry (LULUCF), the current regulation tasks Estonia with making sure emissions and carbon binding are balanced. The Commission's proposal includes a new task for Estonia of binding at least 2.5 million tons of CO2 equivalent by 2030 regarding which Estonia has already said it does not support it.

Asked where could cuts go deeper provided Estonia is unable to achieve desired reduction in some sectors, Juhandi pointed to transport.

"Because a total greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 55 percent is required in the EU, lowering targets in one system should be compensated in another. The government's position is that Estonia supports the Commission's proposed balance between different climate policy measures when prescribing greenhouse gas emissions targets," Juhandi said. "The European Union sees the most potential for lowering greenhouse gas emissions in transport, while all sectors must surely contribute," she added.

The "Fit for 55" target consists of 14 legislative initiatives regarding most of which the government has approved Estonia's negotiating position but that still need to be greenlit by the Riigikogu European Union Affairs Committee.

EU member states and the European Parliament must agree before the initiatives can be legalized. Negotiations between representatives of member states are expected to take a few years.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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