The Government approved standpoints on European Union climate proposals

25.11.2021 | 00:00

Stenbock House, 25 November – Today, the government approved positions on the European Union draft climate legislative package “Fit for 55”, which concerns updating the EU Emissions Trading System, sharing efforts between Member States, as well as contributions of the land use and forestry sectors to meeting the climate objectives. Their goal is to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by the year 2030.
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“Achieving the climate goals requires difficult decisions, but we must take these steps to save the planet and the environment,” said Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. “In the long run, investing in the green transition is also an opportunity to stabilise energy prices, reduce energy dependency, make the economy and administration more sustainable and the environment cleaner. Most importantly, in implementing the climate goals we must ensure that our people are taken care of and are not suffering from these changes. It must be a green transition of the people,” said Kallas.

According to the Minister of the Environment, Erki Savisaar, the positions were composed by the ministry in close collaboration with other ministries, since the proposals also have a strong impact on industry, transportation, agricultural and forestry sectors. “In the negotiations we want to ensure that there are secured measures for stabilising price fluctuations of greenhouse gas emission allowance units,” assured Savisaar. “We support the Commission’s proposal to raise the goal for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, however, these changes must be as smooth as possible to ensure investment security for the enterprises.”

It is important for Estonia that complying with the climate goals is based on the principle that each Member State can autonomously find efficient ways in which to achieve the goals and that the profit gained from the sale of their emission allowance units is directed into greenhouse gas emissions reduction related activities. To prevent carbon leakage, it is important that in complying with the climate goals the free allocation of emission allowance is continued in those sectors to which carbon border measures are not applied, such as shale oil production. It is equally important that the negative effects of the changes are as small as possible and to ensure that new opportunities are being investigated to alleviate said effects on the less ensured, as well as to come up with support measures.

In the maritime sector it is necessary to cease efforts of forming global deals about the reduction of the sector’s carbon emissions in the International Maritime Organisation. In agreeing on the European Union’s new rules, it is important to ensure that the sector remains competitive in Estonia and other countries, as well as the equal treatment of ships as compared to third countries. In addition, Estonia supports the proposal of the European Commission to end the allocation of free emission units to air service providers by the year 2027. Estonia also supports the revision of established emission standards and the setting of stricter standards for new cars and small commercial vehicles. At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that gas powered public transport and heavy trucks must be able to be brought to the market even after 2035 to support the use of biomethane as an environmentally friendly fuel in transportation.

Compared to the year 1990, the EU has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 31%. To achieve climate neutrality by 2050 at a smooth and reasonable pace, it is necessary to reduce the overall EU gas emissions by 55% by the year 2030. The Riigikogu will followingly discuss the positions approved by the government. If the positions are approved by the Riigikogu, they will become Estonia’s starting position for discussions in the EU Council.

Government Communication Unit