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Statement by H.E. Mr Mr Marko Pomerants, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Estonia at the Signing Ceremony of Paris Climate Agreement, April 22, 2016

22.04.2016

Secretary General, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Reaching the Paris Agreement has been a major achievement! Now, after the Paris climate conference, we need to continue to fulfill our commitments and turn them into concrete policy actions.

As a member state of the European Union, Estonia has supported the ambitious goals of climate change mitigation and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We have reduced our emissions by almost 50 per cent as compared to 1990, successfully decoupled greenhouse gas emission volumes from our economic growth and fulfilled the emission reduction target under the Kyoto Protocol.

Before the Paris targets will take effect, we are committed to continue our work towards the 2020 targets which means implementing EU climate and energy package for 2020.

In post-2020 period, Estonia will continue its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We are fully committed to implement the European Union 2030 energy and climate framework that sets an ambitious target of at least 40% greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 as well as renewable energy and energy efficiency targets of at least 27% each. We have already started working on the 2030 regulatory framework and discussing it with different stakeholder groups. Since 2015, we have been developing Estonia’s Low Carbon Development Strategy until 2050 which contains long term policy guidelines in the sectors of energy, transportation, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste management, for moving towards low carbon economy. After discussions in the Parliament, we expect to reach approval of this document by the end of 2016. Within the same time process, Estonia is also developing its first national Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and action plan which will help the society to better mitigate, be prepared for, and cope with any negative impacts that may arise as a result of climate change and increased frequency of extreme weather events.

In today’s world, economic growth does not need to come at the expense of the environment. It is vital to use the available as well as potential of the tools in our hands – including innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions in virtually all areas. In Estonia alone, we estimate that in recent years, we have achieved efficiency gain of some 2% of GDP each year by signing documents digitally and sharing those electronically. We also continue cooperation with other countries to find ways for expanding such approach and impact - imagine the potential scale if digital signatures would be used all over the world!

Living up to our commitment made in Paris, Estonia is, and will keep contributing 1 million euros annually for climate objectives in developing countries.

To effectively secure the transition to low carbon economy, we need to keep up the ambition, internally and internationally. Estonia is moving ahead with our domestic ratification procedures of the Paris agreement to be ready as soon as possible. We have to stand behind our commitment for creating low carbon and climate-resilient future as nearly 200 parties agreed in Paris.  And we certainly intend to continue international cooperation with our partners towards our common aims.

Thank you! 

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