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Four seasons might become three

COMMENT PRINT ARTICLE
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PHOTO: Tiiu Vahtra

The average temperature in Estonia has risen by 2 degrees over the past two years, which is more than global average temperatures. It is probable the climate will continue to get warmer until the end of this century.

This means that there will be three seasons instead of the current four in Estonia in the future. Winter will disappear, and we will have a muddy fall before spring returns. Extreme weather phenomena, like droughts, floods, storms, and short cold spells that all deliver a shock to nature, will become more frequent. The sea level will rise, as will annual rainfall, and Estonia will see new species and parasites of plants, a report by the Ministry of the Environment reveals.

The report finds that in addition to local climate change, global changes in the socio-economic situation and international relations could have an even more profound effect on life in Estonia. “That is why we deem it important to join a valid global activity plan to slow global warming – seriously cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The ministry finds that considering global changes in climate policy following the Paris conference and the European Union's goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, it is clear that Estonia's energy policy needs to be fundamentally rethought and reshaped.

International climate policy therefore first and foremost concerns our oil shale industry and the companies therein. “Due to its low efficiency, direct burning of oil shale for electricity must end by 2030, whereas oil shale will have to be used more efficiently and environmentally consciously than before, concentrating mainly on production of oil shale oil,” the ministry finds.

The global trend away from fossil fuels will also hamper oil shale oil's ability to find a place on the global market. Therefore industry needs to be developed towards the ability to offer a product for which there is global demand and that can fetch decent prices.

The European Union's (including Estonia) contribution to the climate agreement is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030 compared to the level in 1990. Heads of governments agreed on that much at the European Council meeting in October of 2014.

In order to reduce emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050, as has been agreed on the European level, Estonia also needs to seriously reduce pollution caused by economic activity.

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