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Ratas: Proactive investment in clean technologies will help ease change

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday. Dec. 12, 2017.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday. Dec. 12, 2017. Source: (Jürgen Randma/Governmen Office)

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) on Tuesday participated in the One Planet Summit in Paris, the focus of which was financing for managing and adapting to climate change and improving the efficiency of emissions trading.

"Countries are facing serious choices when it comes to coping with climate change," Ratas said according to a government press release. "One possibility is to be proactive and invest in new, clean technologies. Another option is to continue in the same old way, although doing so would require people to prepare for a shock — the arrival of the moment when they will suddenly have to change their way of life in order to adapt. I believe that the first choice is the most reasonable, responsible and least painful."

Ratas admitted that it would be impossible to abandon current technology overnight, although more serious preparations for the switch to clean technologies must begin. "In order for there to be change, governments, businesses, investors and representatives of free society must make a joint effort," he said. "Today's summit brought all of the parties together in Paris."

Tuesday's summit marked two years since the signing of the Paris Agreement, which was signed in December 2015 by 195 countries, including Estonia. The goal of the agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to keep the average global temperature increase this century below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Estonia ratified the Paris Agreement in the Riigikogu on Oct. 26 last year.

According to the government, the EU bears the brunt of the fight against climate change and adapting to these changes, and the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990 levels by 2030.

"I am pleased that during our presidency [of the Council of the EU], we have already reached significant agreements for updating the emissions trading system in order to protect the climate while also reducing emissions in transportation and agriculture," Ratas said, adding that he hoped an agreement covering land use and forestry would soon follow.

"People may have contradictory opinions when it comes to climate change and the causes behind it, but we must work together to ensure that future generations inherit a clean and habitable environment," the Estonian head of government added.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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