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TALLINN – With the Paris Agreement having been signed five years ago on Saturday, altogether 127 states are either already pursuing climate neutrality or mulling over doing so; the aggregate share of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions produced by these states amounts to 63 percent.

On Dec. 12, 2015, altogether 195 states convened in Paris to adopt a global agreement on curbing climate change. The objective of the agreement is to limit global warming to below 2  degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of the Environment said.

The agreement has propelled states into action — the European Union is pursuing climate neutrality by 2050 with similar objectives having recently also been announced by Japan, Canada, South Korea and South Africa. China is currently the world’s biggest generator of greenhouse gases. Chinese President Xi Jinping promised at the UN General Assembly in September that the state will reach climate neutrality before 2060.

Katre Kets, international climate policy adviser at the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, said that these plans will undoubtedly take us closer to meeting the objectives in the Paris Agreement; however, long-term goals alone are not enough, and ambitious action in the near future is also needed.

“The introduction of green technologies must first and foremost be accelerated, and energy efficiency, too, needs to be boosted,” Kets said.

Estonia ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions close to 60 percent compared with 1990. By 2030, Estonia seeks to reduce its emissions altogether 70 percent. Deputy secretary general of the Ministry of the Environment Kristi Klaas said that during its transition to climate neutrality, Estonia will focus on sustainable economy.

“As to new technologies, we see a lot of potential in hydrogen. We will renovate buildings and render them more energy efficient. Much has been done towards improving energy efficiency in the district heating sector in Estonia, and many production devices have been switched to consume renewable fuels, such as biomass. As to the transport sector, we’ve supported and developed public transport, fostered the introduction of low-emission vehicles as well as the production and consumption of biomethane from local resources,” Klaas said.

Klaas noted that in the coming decade, even more attention has to be paid to transport and new solutions for reducing its negative environmental effects. 

Estonia also supports developing countries as part of international cooperation. 

“We hold open calls for proposals each year to bring Estonian-developed green technologies to developed countries in order to help meet objectives in the Paris Agreement,” Klaas said.

Getlyn Denks, head of climate department at the Ministry of the Environment, said that Estonia’s success is attributable to smart solutions and innovation. Initiatives by young people are also increasingly standing out in this regard. 

“In November, we held the Green Together idea competition for young people, which attracted 300 young participants from the Baltic and Nordic states,” Denks said, adding that the event highlighted the importance of clean natural and urban environment for younger generations.

The United Nations expects for states to boost their climate policy objectives further before the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow next year.

To celebrate the anniversary, the United Nations, United Kingdom and France in cooperation with Chile and Italy are holding the Climate Ambition Summit 2020 on Saturday, in which heads of government and non-governmental organizations will introduce new plans for curbing global warming.

Source: BNS/TBT Staff