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Estonia gets development plan for adapting to climate change

Flooding in Estonia's Soomaa National Park. Aug. 22, 2016.
Flooding in Estonia's Soomaa National Park. Aug. 22, 2016. Source: (Urmas Luik/Pärnu Postimees)

The Estonian government on Thursday endorsed a development plan for adapting to climate change which sets out guidelines and measures for better coping with the effects of changes in climate.

While Estonia has thus far primarily dealt with the consequences of extreme weather, the development plan is aimed at better forecasting dangers arising from climate change and taking them into account, spokespeople for the Ministry of the Environment said.

"Timely adaptation to climate change will significantly reduce financial risks and risks to society," Minister of the Environment Marko Pomerants said. "On the one hand, it is cheaper and more sensible to deal with preventing damage now than eliminating damage later. It is equally wise to viw the phenomena occurring hand in hand with climate change as competitive advantages for the Estonian state."

In order to draw up the development plan, scientists studied the effects of climate change on Estonia, based on which sectoral adaptation measures were laid out both for the short-term through 2030 as well as for the long-term, through 2050 and 2100.

Although the effects of climate change in Estonia are not as extreme as in many other countries elsewhere in Europe and around the world, it is expected that flooding and periods of drought in summer will become more frequent by 2100. Coastal erosion and storm damage are likewise expected to increase, jeopardizing coastal structures. Also projected to be affected will be the length of periods of ice and snow cover in winter as well as the water levels of both the sea and internal bodies of water.

In the future, Estonia must be better prepared for more frequent forest fires storms, floods and the arrival of new plant pests and invasive species.

Climate change may also have positive effects on Estonia as well, such as prolonging the summer tourism season, increasing wind energy capacity, offering the possibility of farming new crops as well as broadening opportunities for eco-innovation and the IT field.

The estimated price tag of the Estonian National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy through 2030 is approximately €44 million. The development plan will be carried out based on an implementation plan that is estimated to cost €6.7 million from 2017-2020, half of which will be covered by budgetary funds and the other half of which will come from external financing.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

Source: BNS

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