Kaljulaid at World Energy Congress: First countries to go green will gain ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

President Kersti Kaljulaid delivering the keynote speech at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi. Sept. 10, 2019.
President Kersti Kaljulaid delivering the keynote speech at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi. Sept. 10, 2019. Source: Office of the President

In her keynote address at the 24th World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, President Kersti Kaljulaid discussed the need to create favorable conditions and legal space for green energy technologies worldwide, and noted that the old adage — that the first ones gain, and last ones pay — remains true in the case of going greener.

"The payday will not come quickly enough for us to directly benefit, but our children will," Kaljulaid highlighted according to a press release.

She cited examples of forces and existing technology currently in favor of the adoption of green energy, and concluded that what is keeping people globally from going green is the same factor involved in development aid distribution.

"The transaction costs of getting such a global agreement, implementing and controlling the results in a clear feedback loop cannot be done unless we find the market forces to do so," the president said. "All states that have escaped poverty and reached the ranks of developed nations — including Estonia, in the last 30 years — have demonstrated that it can only happen if you align your societal needs, in this case going green, with the interests of the market."

The EU is preparing to declare the need for climate neutrality by 2050 with the objective of 80 percent neutrality already, Kaljulaid highlighted. "It is the world's biggest and richest single market, and it has a political class that understands that these objectives can only be achieved if we skew market forces and force the market to adapt to our demand of no CO2 emissions," she continued. "This is torturous to current energy producers and distributors, but this torture is absolutely necessary."

Hence the only thing that helps is exactly what the EU is doing, the Estonian head of state highlighted: "Skewing the markets — by administrative capacity, as we have the general support of our people to do so — to adjust to a carbon-free future. Yes, our societies — yours and mine — will bear the cost of the transformation. But in the end, technologies will become cheaper and other markets will apply them for purely market reasons, if green is making more economic sense than dirty energy."

According to Kaljulaid, it will make more economic sense to apply all green technologies globally, and if this were to happen, everyone might end up CO2-free energy users a critical five, ten or 20 years faster.

"The planet will still heat somewhat more, and water levels will keep rising somewhat, but it may be tolerable," she said. "We, humankind, would never know ourselves how close to the brink we came, but so be it. I prefer that market forces pushed by smart policy-making and legal space-setting act quickly and save us all from knowing the alternative."

Click here to read Kaljulaid's speech in full.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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