Government endorses 2050 as target year for climate neutrality

Climate neutrality requires new wind farms and curbing of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture
Climate neutrality requires new wind farms and curbing of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture Source: TASS / Scanpix

The government on Thursday endorsed Estonia's position to the European long-term vision called "A Clean Planet for All," whereby Estonia supports in principle setting 2050 as the target year for achieving climate neutrality across the European Union.

Prime Minister Juri Ratas described investments in halting climate change as a contribution to our future, prosperity and wisdom. 

"I am convinced that every euro that we invest in halting climate change and new technologies will return manyfold in terms of both wealth and quality of life," the prime minister said in a press release.

"This was demonstrated also by the survey by SEI Tallinn published at the beginning of this week. In the survey we have a roadmap for how to invest smartly in halting climate change," Ratas said. The prime minister also described increasing people's awareness, in order for people to make environment-friendly decisions in their day-to-day consumption, mobility and food choices as important. 

According to the minister of the environment, Rene Kokk, Estonia must be left sufficient flexibility in setting sectoral goals and using sectoral measures.

"The specifics and challenges of the different regions of the European Union also have to be considered. We find that the regions that are more dependent on carbon intensive economy must be supported with measures for the creation of new jobs," Kokk said.

At the beginning of this week, the government's climate and energy committee was presented with a document titled "Analysis of Opportunities for Increasing the Estonian Climate Ambition" compiled by Stockholm Environment Institute Tallinn (SEI Tallinn) and Finantsakadeemia OU, which explains how to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 -- what changes should be made to get there and what their impacts would be. It also outlines how much and where the private, public, and non-profit sectors have to contribute.

The study says that Estonia would be able to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 by implementing the actions listed in the analysis. For that purpose, the public, private, and third sectors have to contribute to achieving the goal. With strategically wise decisions, these investments would be profitable in the long run. 

The government considers it important for the specifics of individual member states and regions to be taken into account and achieving of climate neutrality to be supported by sufficient transitional measures. Member states must be left the right to choose  the means for achieving climate neutrality that are suitable for them, including to make sovereign tax decisions for achieving climate neutrality.

Estonia also considers it important for the transition to climate neutrality to take place step by step and attention to be paid to reducing potential negative social impacts. A lot of work still lies ahead to find suitable and environment-friendly technologies for the reduction, capture and processing of carbon emissions, but also taking into use alternative fuels, increasing the energy effectiveness of buildings and storing renewable energy.

Estonian residents consider addressing climate issues as important. According to an Eurobarometer survey the findings of which were published in September, 85 percent of residents here are in favor of making the European economy climate neutral by 2050. 

The goal of the European long-term strategy is for Europe to assume the role of global precursor in climate measures.

In the 2050 vision, the Commission lays out a vision for a transition to a climate neutral economy by 2050, meaning Europe's net greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) will be zero in that year. The vision states that this is technologically possible, and that it can be done in a socially fair and cost-efficient manner. 


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Editor: Helen Wright

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