Expert: Estonia needs climate adaptation plan and 'climate services'

Fires that have devastated Siberia and the Arctic are becoming more common.
Fires that have devastated Siberia and the Arctic are becoming more common.

At the end of the week, world leaders will meet in Egypt to determine how to adapt to a changing climate and mitigate climate change. Estonia should decide to invest in climate competence, develop climate adaptation plan and "climate services," Piia Post, head of atmospheric physics laboratory and associate professor of meteorology and climatology at the University of Tartu, told morning radio show "Vikerhommik."

At the end of October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations released a new report. Despite countries' efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the analyses showed that this will not be enough to restrict global temperature rise to the desired extent.

Figures reveal that despite the climate pledges of all nations, the temperature will still rise by 2.5 degrees by the middle of the century, not the 1.5 degrees that is often assumed.

One thing is to reach an agreement, and another question is whether those agreements are respected and are founded on substantive knowledge, Post said. "The climate change is a devil of a crisis as it is not seen or felt in many people's daily lives in many countries."

As the world is a unified whole, the climate must be viewed globally — it is warming globally. "Yes, Estonia's climate is also warming, as Estonia is a part of the global community," Post said, adding that there is not a single book or collection of articles on Estonia's current and future climate.

Regarding the scale of global warming, she gave an example of many summer evenings in Estonia where the temperature surpassed 20 degrees Celsius. There was also an extended period of temperatures exceeding 30 degrees. "Clearly, this is not the typical weather for Estonia. Rising winter temperatures are another indicator of climate change," she added.

River flows are also decreasing as a result of climate change. Because there is little or no snow in the winter, or because snow melts early, the entire water cycle is disrupted.

Post said that climate change is already here, which means we have to adapt to it. "Climate models allow us to look not only at the current climate, but also to the future, based on scientific knowledge," she said.

In Estonia, however, climate adaptation is rarely discussed, and there is no climate adaptation plan. "There is a general plan, but there is no answer when asked what the priorities are."

Climate daptation would require the creation of "climate services," Post said. "However, even those who are thought to be experts on the subject do not fully understand what climate services could be."

Post explained that climate services are provided at the national, local, industry and individual levels.

The purpose of the national climate service is to update, modernize and develop a comprehensive picture of future climate scenarios.

At the municipal or individual level, climate service can also be a local government or ministry website with detailed instructions on how to make a home more energy-efficient or what type of dwelling to purchase to be better prepared for the future.

Post said that it is also essential to increase general climate competence. This entails the knowledge, attitudes and abilities of individuals to address complex challenges such as climate change, war and pandemics.

"It is evident that Estonian population is unprepared. We expect others, who deal with these problems, to have an understanding of them," she explained "The topics like that cannot be fully delegated."


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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