Estonia falling behind pace needed to hit Fit for 55 greenhouse gas targets

Smokestacks at a power plant in Ida-Viru County. Photo is illustrative.
Smokestacks at a power plant in Ida-Viru County. Photo is illustrative. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Estonia's activities in reducing greenhouse gas emissions aren't enough to achieve the targets set out by the EU's Fit for 55 program on time, data published by the Ministry of the Environment on Tuesday revealed. The Fit for 55 plan refers to the EU's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent compared with 2005 figures by the year 2030.

"Current data indicates that we aren't reaching 2030 objectives," Kädi Ristkok, director of the Climate Department of the Ministry of the Environment, said at a press conference held ahead of the publishing of the data.

Laura Remmelgas, an adviser at the ministry's Climate Department, explained to ERR that Fit for 55 imposes a national obligation on Estonia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in sectors covered by the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR), including buildings, small energy, transport, agriculture and waste, as well as carbon sequestration targets for the land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sector.

In light of Fit for 55, sectors covered under the ESR will have to reduce carbon emissions not by the previous target of 13 but rather 24 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2030.

"That means that in 2030, ESR sectors' combined emissions should not exceed 4.7 million tons in CO2 equivalent (CO2e)," Remmelgas explained. "With our current planned measures, we are moving toward the previous, 13 percent reduction in admissions; in 2020, those sectors' combined emissions totaled 5.93 million tons in CO2e."

Fit for 55 has imposed on Estonia's LULUCF sector the obligation to capture at least 2.5 million tons of CO2 by 2030. The objective previously in force had been to ensure that at least the base rate established under current calculation rules of 0.5 million tons in CO2e would be achieved by 2030. According to Remmelgas, this requirement nonetheless applies to the 2021-2025 period as well, under both the previous and the new regulation.

Ristkok said that early next year, the Ministry of the Environment will be issuing a list of potential additional measures meant to help achieve 2030 targets.

She stressed that all sectors have to contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as that is necessary to achieve these objectives, but that this is also fair and has to be proportionate as well.

Commenting on the current situation in the energy sector, the Climate Department director noted that despite the crisis and Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, things nonetheless remain on course, as the energy trilemma is being solved: a simultaneous green transition and the guaranteeing of the accessibility and affordability of energy.

"Thus tendencies indicate that we're moving in the right direction and are managing to combine various goals even in the current crisis," Ristkok said.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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