Parties commit to adopting climate law and creating climate minister post

Smoking power plants in Ida-Viru County.
Smoking power plants in Ida-Viru County. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

In their campaign prpgrams for the Riigikogu elections, the Reform Party, the Center Party, the Social Democratic Party and Estonia 200 all call for the adoption of a climate law. Additionally, Eesti 200 and the Reform Party would establish the position of climate minister.

The Reform Party wants replace the post of minister of public administration with a minister of green reform.

The Reform Party's election manifesto says under the heading "green reform" that the climate law will create a legal framework for meeting climate targets.

It will regulate state activities across sectors and determine the obligations, goals and rights associated with the green reform to all sectors.

The Reform Party also promises to appoint a minister of green reform in place of the minister of public administration.

"In times of climate crisis, it will be the responsibility of the minister of green reform to ensure that all ministries and institutions under their jurisdiction comply with national policies, programs (such as Estonia 2035, Fit for 55, and others), and associated quantifiable targets," Reform Party states. 

"The climate law provides the minister responsible for green reform with a mandate. The legislative framework will be accompanied with a road map describing activities, responsibilities and financing sources for each sector, developed in collaboration with the business sector. Every expenditure must contribute to climate neutrality. We are establishing sustainable budgeting and funding principles. Any budget spending must support green reform," the program states.

The Center Party wants to set up a climate body to create a climate law

The Center in its election program also pledges to draft a climate law that focuses on the Green Deal's overall objective and its implementation.

"To draft a climate law, we will convene a climate panel comprising of the nation's top climate experts and scientists," the Center Party program states.

The aim of the Center is to stimulate the transition to renewable electricity: "Plan and develop wind, solar and bio-energy in a manner that is balanced and efficient. In 2030, all electricity for own consumption in Estonia will be produced from renewable energy sources," the program states.

The Social Democratic Party suggests subsidies to reduce high energy costs

The SDE has also committed to establishing a climate council in conjunction with the climate bill.

"We will adopt a climate law that establishes clear objectives and provides a legal framework for decision-making across all levels of government and all industries. We will establish a regular climate council of scientists to provide the government with the most up-to-date scientific information and to monitor the effectiveness of the measures put in place to achieve climate goals," the party's election program states.

The goal of the social democrats is to ensure that Estonia transitions to renewable energy by 2030. "We intend to build offshore wind farms and increase small-scale distributed solar energy generation."

In addition, the party pledges to allow residential consumers and housing associations to connect free of charge up to 30 kilowatt as power producers.

"We pay subsidies to ease the excessively high electricity prices, as we deem it vital to support families, businesses and municipalities in coping with the crisis. To stabilize heating costs, we are also launching a subsidy for wood heaters in collaboration with local governments. We will build a technology-neutral, long-term energy plan for Estonia that will determine the most sensible share of controlled and uncontrolled electricity production," says the SDE's election program.

Estonia 200 wants to take a loan for the energy transition

The Estonia 200 party promises to develop both a climate law and introduce a minister of climate and energy.

"We are introducing a climate law in Estonia in order to streamline the existing climate policy and update existing regulations. A climate law is required to insure that every choice made in Estonia take in account environmental impacts, does not exacerbate climate change over time and does not hurt our economy. We will establish the position of minister of climate and energy, who will be in charge of enforcing the climate law and implementing the green transition," Estonia 200 states.

In addition, Estonia 200 pledges to invest all CO2 quota income in climate change mitigation measures, including risk mitigation and carbon sequestration for all renewable energy projects.

The Estonia 200 party wants to take out a loan to implement the green objectives. "The Estonian government will issue a long-term green bond in 2024 in order to pay support measures for green initiatives," the program states.

VKG: Without climate legislation, the business environment for a green transition is unclear

In an opinion column published by ERR in 2021, Ahti Asmann, chair of the board of Viru Keemia Group (VKG), an Estonian holding group of oil shale industry, power generation and public utility companies, said that Estonia needed a climate law in which agreed legislative boundaries would aid in making long-term decisions and investments in the context of a green business environment.

"The climate law should outline Estonia's supranational and sectoral climate objectives, deadlines, interrelations with other laws, EU law, and international agreements, as well as terminology used in the climate field, appropriate and proportionate restrictions on individuals' rights and freedoms to meet the climate objectives, their rights and obligations and the rules necessary to ensure compliance with the rights and obligations. Equally important is the legislative process, which includes extensive impact assessments and a substantive debate on Estonia's options," Asmann wrote in 2021.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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