Estonia wants recent targets upheld and the switch to renewable energy stepped up at the COP27 climate change conference.
The COP27 UN climate conference that will see 200 countries discuss ways of slowing down the climate crisis has kicked off in Egypt. Heads of state and governments will be given the floor on Monday.
EU Member States have decided to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. It was agreed at the previous climate conference in Glasgow that other countries will also review their long-term climate plans and adopt more ambitious goals. But this has not strictly happened, said Kaja Tael, Estonia's special envoy for climate and energy policy.
"The European Union has adopted very ambitious goals for 2030. They are not easy on Estonia either, while our story can serve as a ray of hope. We have been greatly dependent on fossil fuels, while we have been gradually weaning ourselves off them and our long-term goals have not changed," Tael said.
The envoy suggested that while it was hoped the rest of the world would catch up, many did not follow the EU's ambition. "But a country like China saying they will be climate neutral, even though not by 2050 but 2060, is a big deal globally speaking!"
Countries have also all but agreed on a mechanism for compensating states most affected by the climate crisis. The process has not been without obstacles.
"It is part of the Paris accords that wealthier countries, being mindful of their responsibility, are prepared to contribute most of the money fighting global climate change requires. Of course, details need to be hashed out. Countries have not quite kept their promise of allocating €100 billion annually. We have fallen a little short," Tael admitted.
Johanna Maarja Tiik, climate policy expert for the Estonian Fund for Nature, said that climate funding and the mechanism for compensating climate change damages are very much on the agenda this year.
"COP is taking place in Egypt this year. This works to amplify the voice of the region and states that are already suffering the most from the effects of climate change. Several natural disasters this year, such as sprawling floods in Pakistan, show that we need a separate mechanism for compensation!" Tiik said.
This year is made more complicated by Russia's war and soaring energy prices that could force climate goals to take a back seat. The important thing is to stick to what we've achieved, which is Estonia's main goal for the talks, Minister of the Environment Madis Kallas (SDE) said.
"Our aim is to avoid going back on recent climate ambitions. Secondly, for Europe and other states to support a faster switch to renewables both in words and action, whether it's solar or wind power. That is our priority at the climate summit!" Estonia's environment minister said.
Editor: Marcus Turovski