Ambitious climate package requires Baltic cooperation - Estonian environment minister

  • 2021-09-10
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonian Environment Minister Tonis Molder, who is meeting with his Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues in Tartu on Friday, said that serious work is currently under way in all three Baltic states to work with stakeholders to develop national positions for the negotiations on the climate and energy package.

"There is a very intense debate ahead: the deadlines for the entry into force of the legislation proposed by the Commission are ambitious and could therefore create uncertainty for businesses and other affected parties. I would like to exchange views on this subject with my Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts. I believe that together we can achieve the best end result for all member states," Molder said ahead of the meeting.

The Baltic states are also working to harmonize waste systems and thus promote waste management in general. For example, the countries are cooperating in moving towards the introduction of a common collection marking by type of waste. Following the example of the system developed in Denmark, it is possible to also make the marking used in the Baltics clearer and more uniform. This year, a corresponding joint project was launched, in which Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, as well as Finland and Sweden participate. "Uniform waste labeling in the Baltics, Scandinavia and why not all over the European Union would give a boost to separate waste collection. It would be much easier for people to navigate if the same clear and comprehensible instructions - such as colors and images - were used everywhere for collecting waste separately," Molder said.

The deposit packaging system is already operational in several countries in Europe and is also gaining momentum more widely. The deposit packaging system has been implemented in Estonia since 2005 and the country has stood out all over the world with its success. Three years ago, Estonia raised the idea of creating a common deposit-subjected packaging, which Latvia agreed to. Latvia plans to implement a similar system from February 2022. Within the framework of the bilateral cooperation project started this year, Estonia will be able to share its success story with Latvia, as well as various awareness-raising events will be organized and it will be explained what steps need to be taken to create a cross-border deposit system, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of the Environment said.

The topics to be discussed at the meeting also include support for electric cars, the Astravyets nuclear power plant in Belarus. According to Molder, Estonia will continue the support measure to promote the introduction of low-emission vehicles, and in the future it is planned to do so on a larger scale than before. "With the purchase support, we give an impetus from the state to move towards more sustainable mobility and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector, because currently the price is the main factor limiting the growth of the electric vehicle market compared to the internal combustion engine alternative," the minister said.

The Astravyets nuclear power plant and electricity imports from third countries will be discussed at the meeting on the initiative of the Lithuanian minister. The 2,400 MW nuclear power plant, the first reactor of which was switched on in November 2020 and the second of which will start operating in 2022, is only 50 kilometers from Vilnius.

As part of the meeting, the Tartu city government also introduced the climate plan of Tartu and the city's objectives in this field, also touching upon mobility, renovation and renewable energy. The discussion was followed by a visit to the Paranduskelder community maker and repair space at 12:45 p.m. where the minister are scheduled to attend a workshop called "Get Creative from Rubbish".