Editor's note

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 22.11.2019, 00:32

Latvian “green growth”: new perspective

Eugene Eteris, LZA senior adviser, BC International Editor, Copenhagen, 07.11.2019.Print version

Among new Commission’s next priorities the “green grow’ occupies a first place. The idea is embedded into the so-called “European Green Deal” pronounced by the new Commission President, which strives for the climate-neutral continent.

European states’ governments are getting a clear message from the EU institutions: real actions on climate change are needed, as soon as Europe is to become the first climate-neutral continent. To make the idea come true involves taking decisive actions. The states need to invest in innovation and research, redesign the general economic guidelines and update industrial and manufacturing policies.


Among other measures, the Commission will not only propose a “European Green Deal” but also draft the first European climate legislation “to enshrine the 2050 climate-neutrality” into the EU basic law. Presently, the EU states have a general goal of 40% emissions reduction by 2030; to achieve that goal carbon emissions must be taxed: all people and economic sectors will have to contribute.


Source: Political Guidelines by Ursula von der Leyen in:   https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/political-guidelines-next-commission_en.pdf

Climate change: Latvian governments’ responsibilities

Climate change has become already a reality in Latvia with numerous negative effects. Therefore, Latvia has taken ambitious steps to limit anthropogenic negative effect on climate change: the country is moving towards climate neutrality, by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in transport, industry and agriculture.


The measures are quite challenging; but at the same time, they are supposed to create additional opportunities in developing new “green” industries.”

Latvian Baltic Sea’s coastline stretches for about 500 sq. km; however, this territory is affected by coastal erosion. Scientists predict that by 2060, Latvia can lose about 10 sq.km of its territory as a result of coastal erosion.


The year 2018 was the driest and most warmest year in Latvian “meteorological history”: heat and severe drought during that summer resulted in numerous forests’ fires.


Source: https://sites.utu.fi/bre/latvia-is-ready-to-be-part-of-climate-change-solution/?utm_source=emaileri&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The%20latest%20BRE%20review&utm_term=Read%20more&utm_content=u-3296485-65927029-1943618-0

 

Latvian measures were most active during 2019: thus, in May Latvian delegation joined a group of EU states at the Sibiu Summit that called for more ambitious climate targets and setting a goal of climate neutrality for 2050 in line with the goal of limiting the global temperature increase to 1,5oC. Besides, the government adopted Latvian “national position” concerning European Commission Communication “A Clean Planet for all- a European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy”. This “position” requires Latvian support for the EU’s long-term targets for reaching climate neutrality by 2050.


Still more: in July 2019, Latvian government approved National Climate Change Adaptation Plan for 2030, setting out concrete implementation actions for the near perspective: it includes more than 80 measures to help the population and economy of Latvia to better adapt to impacts of climate change, e.g. including such specific measures as increasing alert in forest fires’ cases and improve infrastructures to manage increased draughts. 


Presently, Latvian government is drafting a “National Strategy for Low Carbon Development by 2050”; besides, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs a National Energy and Climate Plan for 2021-2030 is developing to be submitted to the European Commission by the end of 2019.

 

Attention to transition measures

Transition towards climate neutrality can only be achieved through significant change in investment and financing. The global measures require that the states make finance flows consistent with the ways towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development. At the EU level a legislative path was drafted in the Commission’s “Action Plan: Financing Sustainable Growth”.


Addressing climate change needs active engagement from all Latvian socio-economic sectors: hence the new government’s efforts to draft a National Development Plan 2021-2027 which is exploring a holistic and “horizontal approach” through different economy sectors. The reason is that climate change is a complex issue which needs coherent actions towards common goal.


The government wishes “to scale up investment” in innovation, research and technologies to ensure Latvian leading position in climate change measures and to ensure adequate provision of innovative and low-carbon solutions. The latter is to provide huge opportunities for both businesses community and innovators. 

Transition to climate neutrality by 2050 is the Latvian long-term goal that is going to solve the climate crisis and increase country’s competitiveness in the world. Most important is that “green transition” shall proceed along such actions as new skills and job creation, food security and public health while offering new opportunities for sustainable growth.


Latvia need an ambitious, durable and robust climate policy to transform and designing new incentives and measures to encourage economic opportunities.

References to: Juris Pūce’s article “Latvia is ready to be part of climate change solution” in the Baltic Rim Economies, 3/2019, cited in:

http://www.baltic-course.com/eng/direct_speech/?doc=152296

 

 





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