Environment minister: No strong pressure on Estonia over climate issues

Madis Kallas (SDE).
Madis Kallas (SDE). Source: Government Office

Estonia goes into the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on Sunday with the message that decisions to increase use of fossil fuels in response to the energy crisis must only be temporary, according to Minister of the Environment Madis Kallas (SDE).

Estonia's main expectations at the COP27 climate change conference are linked to the European Union's approach that, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis in Europe, climate targets should still not be forgotten, Kallas told ERR.

According to Kallas, there is a fear amongst some sections of society that climate targets could be abandoned, however there is no reason for this to be the case. "COP27 should reaffirm and maintain the focus of COP26," Kallas said, adding that it was important for Europe to find willing partners among developing countries.

According to Kallas, the issue of support for poorer countries is also still on the agenda, with the minister highlighting that this should not come to an end due to other crises currently being faced. "The climate issue transcends national borders. Poorer countries need to be helped in the implementation of climate projects. Estonia will continue to support poorer countries, as it has done up to now," said Kallas.

As several of Estonia's energy producers have been granted special permission to switch from gas to shale oil in order to ensure sufficient heating supplies this winter, Estonia is also feeling the effects of the energy crisis. According to Kallas, the additional use of fossil fuels in Estonia can only be a temporary measure. "At the moment we are talking about one heating period. From then on, we will monitor developments, including the war (in Ukraine) and the price of heating, and then we will look ahead," Kallas said.

Kallas cited Scandinavia and Western Europe as models for Estonia to follow in its approach to combating climate change. "We are mainly talking about European countries that are climate champions. It is not possible to single out any particular country, because everyone is own their own path, but we can put together a model for Estonia based on different countries," Kallas said.

Kallas also said that, during a meeting with the Finnish Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Maria Ohisalo, recent problems facing the two countries related to deforestation and biodiversity, had been discussed. However, Kallas pointed out, that there is no strong pressure on Estonia when it comes to various climate issues.

"It is the job of our officials and diplomats to bring these issues and criticisms to the ministerial level, so that we can seek solutions to the problems or put them on hold," Kallas said.

More than 30,000 delegates, including representatives from around 200 countries, will gather for the international climate summit, which starts in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on Sunday, November 6. Those gathered, will discuss ways to slow down climate change and help those already feeling its impact.

One of COP27's main themes revolves around whether dealing with the consequences of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, including rising food and fuel prices, and stalling economic growth, has slowed efforts to tackle the worst effects of climate change.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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