On behalf of the European Union, Siim Kiisler, Minister of the Environment, emphasised at the United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, that the European Union will fulfil its climate targets for 2020.
‘The promises made in Paris two years ago cannot be withdrawn or reversed – we need to work together to protect our planet against climate change. The effects of climate change can already be felt in our lives on a daily basis, so it is clear that we need to act quickly,’ Kiisler said in his speech.
Kiisler noted that although this year’s climate conference is more technical in nature, this does not mean that it is less important than the Paris climate conference two years ago. The rules for the implementation of the Paris climate agreement are to be approved at the climate conference next year in Katowice, Poland.
On the subject of meeting the European Union’s commitments, the minister noted that the EU has now reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 23% compared to 1990. The goal was to reduce emissions by 20% by 2020, so the target has already been met. In Estonia, greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 55.3% since 1990.
Fiji will hold the presidency of this year’s conference, but the meeting will take place in Bonn, Germany, where the headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change are located. Fiji, located in the Pacific Ocean, is one of those small island countries directly threatened by climate change.
The Paris Agreement, concluded in December 2015 in Paris with the participation of 195 countries, is the first multilateral agreement on climate change addressing the greenhouse gas emissions of almost all countries of the world. The main objective of the agreement is to keep the world’s average temperature rise in the long run well below 2 °C (compared to pre-industrial times) and hence tackle harmful climate change.
The Paris Agreement will include, among other things, binding greenhouse gas reduction levels and a reporting system; it will also include a dynamic mechanism that will enable commitments to be assessed and increased over time, as well as climate change financing activities and a long-term plan for adapting to climate change.
Estonia has endorsed long-term policy guidelines for shifting to a low-carbon economy, which means gradually transforming the economy and energy system in accordance with the intended purpose and making it more resource-efficient, productive, and environmentally friendly. By 2050, the aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Estonia by almost 80% compared to 1990 levels.