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President Kaljulaid: we need to bypass others in tackling climate problems

President Kaljulaid: we need to bypass others in tackling climate problems © Ministry of Environment


Estonia is about to lag behind in the sphere of energy efficiency and climate politics, so now is the time to find the technological tools to bypass others, said President Kersti Kaljulaid today in Tallinn, at the EU climate and environment policy seminar.

According to the President of the Republic, mankind is experimenting with climate, but this involves the troubling fact that once we reach a solution it will already be too late to do anything about it. “In just the last century we have left a print so large and deep on the planet that a specific name – Anthropocene – has been suggested to denote it. This is a rather grim word, not a positive one,” said President Kaljulaid.

“It’s very good that Europe has understood the problem better than many other well-to-do economic areas. We have an ambitious goal – to have a climate neutral economy by 2050. Hopefully, this will be put in place this autumn, as today some possible variants that are not as austere are being discussed,” stated the President of the Republic.

“We are aware that this problem affects us profoundly. The situation we are facing today in Ida-Virumaa did, indeed, arrive with a fanfare,” said President Kaljulaid. We must consider carefully today whether Estonia should follow the well-trodden track of developed countries and purchase itself a longer past, because generally it is the opposite, which has allowed us to leap ahead and move faster than others with similar past, added the Head of State. “When looking at our experiences I feel that if there is one country capable of taking the leap ahead, it is Estonia. Countries that invest in future technologies usually win, as the success of our digital state attests,” said President Kaljulaid.

According to the President of the Republic, we should seek solutions to social problems by means of social welfare system, not the economy. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be where we are today, economically, in other sectors. However, no person should feel that his or her personal problem – such as a disappearing job – is being devalued by simply saying that this is our climate and we sought to achieve these objectives collectively, said the Head of State.

“It is very important for us to observe these two issues separately, and not bind them together by stating that someone will lose his or her job. I did work in Ida-Virumaa for quite a long spell last year and there are enterprises there that are expanding their production capacities and need workers, with some even requiring more than one hundred workers. In fact, now is a good time for our economy to move ahead,” said President Kaljulaid. According to the Head of State, we must think long-term and consider our people and their retraining, and we must find them new jobs in other sectors. “As we consider some interim options, such as oil shale gas, the payback period needs to be rather short so as not to stand in the way of our climate goals. I believe that within a period of 25-30 years, we should not be facing the same situation that we are tackling now,” said President Kaljulaid.