Prime Minister Kallas: The green field presents Estonia with an opportunity for innovation

20.10.2021 | 15:44

Stenbock House, 20 October 2021 – Speaking at a science policy conference on the green transition today, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said that solving problems related to climate change presents an enormous opportunity for economic and social innovation, in which Estonia could take the leading role if it makes smart choices.
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The head of government said that the world was irrevocably changing, and international climate and green policy with it. “We cannot simply stand by and watch it happen, because we are part of the bigger picture,” Prime Minister Kallas remarked at the ‘Science as the driver of development in Estonia: The smart way to make the green transition’ conference. “Estonia needs to understand whether our future economic model is in line with the principles of biodiversity, climate policy and the circular economy, and if so, then how.”

Prime Minister Kallas said that having clearly leapt ahead in the digital field, now was the time for Estonia to do the same in the green field. “Solving problems related to climate change presents an enormous opportunity for economic and social innovation,” she said. “There is a lot of talk of risks, but if it makes smart choices, Estonia could take the leading role and create a strong basis for further development.”

The head of government remarked that although the direct impact of climate change on Estonia might not yet be clearly visible, experts have warned that we must be ready in the short term to deal with more frequent extreme weather events. This in turn will place greater pressure on the unimpaired functioning of critical public services, the planning of the living environment and infrastructure, economic development and security of supply.

“That is why it is important to be aware of and to map the main risks and weak points Estonia will need to be ready for in the future, and how we can ensure that our society and economy are able to adapt and are ready to mitigate those risks,” Prime Minister Kallas said, emphasising the importance therein of the contribution made not only by politicians, entrepreneurs and environmental specialists but also scientists and people in other fields.

Prime Minister Kallas also spoke about the green policy steering committee and expert group set up for Estonia’s comprehensive preparations for the green transition, the main objective of which is to draft an action plan for the implementation of the transition during the first quarter of 2022. “It is clear that in Estonia’s case, green policy needs to be shaped taking into account economic, regional and social aspects alike,” she said. “For us, green policy is broader than just energy, environmental protection or crisis preparedness, with a wide-ranging process and discussion needing to be launched.”

The head of government confirmed that the rate of financing of research and development in the national budget would be kept at a minimum of 1% of GDP. To achieve this, additional funds will be allocated from the budget to boost research and development capabilities in fields of governance, the focus of which will hopefully be on development activities linked to the green transition. “For Estonia, implementation of the transition represents both risks and opportunities, and our primary task is to make something of those opportunities for the benefit of the state and society and for economic development,” Prime Minister Kallas said.

The full text of the prime minister’s address can be found online at https://valitsus.ee/uudised/peaminister-kaja-kallase-kone-teaduspoliitika-konverentsil-20102021.

Government Communication Office