No. 44




The Possibility of Green Transition in Estonia

08 December 2021


RiTo No. 44, 2021


The climate policy of the European Union, high electricity prices and the challenge of proper forest management have raised questions in the Estonian society about why we need green transition and if it can be achieved at all.

The discussions on green transition that are currently being held among the Estonian public do not show motivation for rapid actions with far-reaching impact. The participants of such discussions often fail to analyse the consequences of delaying the green transition, which leaves the impression that the only choice we have is between continuation of our customary practice and the seemingly costly green transition. Actually, the choice we are facing is completely different: either to change our behaviour quickly and radically, first of all stop using fossil fuels, or to continue the customary way of life for about ten years and cause a deep environmental crisis on the whole planet. We are not choosing between our customary way of life and the green transition, but rather between threatening or protecting the survival of human society. Neither prospect allows us to continue with our customary activities for long.

Contrary to the widespread opinion, Estonia’s contribution to influencing the global environment is not negligible. By now, the climate changes are so serious that the carbon emissions of even one small country or just one mine can push the envi-ronment of the whole planet irreversibly over some breaking point. Therefore, it is necessary to choose as safe course of action as possible or to reduce carbon emission rapidly. Delaying of climate mitigation is especially impermissible because the actions performed now and in the coming years determine the benefits of the measures implemented later. Estonia has a great potential for reducing carbon emis-sions. First, Estonia has several resources that have not been exhausted and can be used for that, like redesigning of cities, changing the management of forests, etc. Second, Estonia has a recent analysis of the possibilities of achieving climate neutra-lity. The results are promising: climate neutrality can be achieved mainly by imple-menting the existing technologies and with smart decisions, it may be profitable for the country. Third, Estonia can direct the relatively large amounts that are currently used for subsidising fossil fuel industry into carrying out the green transition. In this way, we could preserve the natural environment, improve quality of life and protect the survival of humankind in the coming decades and beyond.

One thing is sure: the green transition will not pass Estonia by. If we make prog-ress towards climate neutrality this year and in the coming years, we can still act in a controlled way and at least to some extent according to our terms. However, the time window for that is closing.