What is the Essence of Green Transition?
The European Green Deal is based on the underlying idea that our further develop-ment can only take place in a manner that remains within planetary boundaries and contributes to curbing climate change and keeping global warming within safe limits, stops biodiversity loss and ensures the protection of ecosystems.
In order to realise this vision, Europe, including Estonia, will have to be able to find answers to many complex issues concerning energy supply, sectors with a high environmental burden (transport, agriculture and food production, construction), protection of natural resources, the condition of ecosystems, reasonable use of materials circulat-ing in the economy, innovation and competitiveness. In a bid to address these chal-lenges, over the best part of the past two years, the European Commission has come forward with a number of initiatives within the framework of the Green Deal, in-cluding the package “Fit for 55”. The current hesitation and postponement of the investments needed to combat climate change have a price to them. According to the latest analysis of the international climate panel, our options to keep climate changes at a tolerable level have become very limited and significantly more urgent action is needed. This has probably been the main reason why the European Com-mission has come forward with such an ambitious package of measures.
What are Estonia’s options? In 2019, SEI Tallinn drew up an analysis focusing on whether climate neutrality, which by now has been set as an official objective under the European Climate Law, is achievable in Estonia, and if so, then with what steps, investments and implications. One of the key messages then was that climate neut-rality is achievable, but if the strategically important decisions are postponed for much longer and if the taking of measures is delayed much more, it will be more complicated and expensive to achieve the climate neutrality objective. The main recommendation of the analysis was to achieve a quick success in the period 2021–2030 in the key sectors where there is potential to significantly reduce emis-sions by using cost-effective measures. For this, it will be necessary to significantly step up investments in the energy efficiency of buildings, transport and industry, to transfer electricity and heat generation to renewable energy sources and to increase the share of climate neutral energy carriers in transport, to bring the Forestry Deve-lopment Plan into conformity with the objectives set and to give overall priority to measures and actions with more co-benefits.
In summary, it can be maintained that the steps leading us towards meeting the objectives of the European Union’s Green Deal are the ones that will have to be taken anyway if we wish to live in an Estonia with a higher-quality living environment and a sustainable and internationally competitive economy.