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Latvia’s efforts to achieve climate neutrality may require billions of euros

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topical, Alda Ozola, environment protection, economic growth, global warming, investments, Environment Protection Ministsry, climate neutralityLatvia has not yet estimated the costs of moving towards climate neutrality, but they may reach billions of euros, said Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry’s deputy state secretary Alda Ozola at the Energy and Climate Plan 2030 – Road towards Sustainable Country forum on Thursday, 21 November.

Answering the question as to how much the transition towards climate neutrality could cost Latvia, Ozola said no estimates have been performed so far. Numbers may become known before the end of the year.

«Certain needs outlined in the development plan have been calculated and could be financed using European Union. The specific amount is not known yet,» said the ministry’s expert.

Considering estimates from other countries, Ozola said costs may be close to billions of euros. However, she proposed taking into account that costs will come for the state and private investments.

«The keyword is investments, not costs,» added the ministry’s representative.

Meanwhile Environment Protection and Regional Development Minister Juris Pūce claims having a climate neutral economy does not mean slower growth of the national economy.

At the forum the minister said Latvia is part of the European Union and the country has a big role in determining the climate policy in the world.

«Many have said it is not possible to completely liquidate CO2 emissions, considering the emissions produced by countries like China, India and other countries. However, it is necessary to keep in mind that most of CO2 emissions generated by China, India and other Asian countries are consumed by Europeans, who purchase goods produced there, and we act as though emissions do not apply to us,» said Pūce.

Turning towards climate and economic affairs, the minister stressed that climate neutrality is possible without sacrificing economic growth.

«Yes, industries will change, as will the consumption structure, but this does not mean there will be no economic growth. I am convinced a climate-friendly economy and lifestyle can be compatible with economic growth,» said Pūce.

The minister said Latvia should become one of the leaders that use climate change as an opportunity.

«The EU and the world climate policy are here to stay. There will be changes, and they will be enormous. We can be the people who are ahead of others when it comes to new industries, new types of production forms, new practices and ways to create and consume energy. This means we have to be prepared to invest in research, development and innovations, as well as support the growth of the private sector with creation of new types of factories and products,» said Pūce.

Read also: German farmers sue government for lack of climate action

On 14 November, during a meeting of state secretaries for inter-institutional coordination the project submitted by Economy Ministry on National Energy and Climate Plan for 2030 (NEKP 2030). This marks the final coordination period for NEKP 2030 among ministries and other interested sides.

On 17 December 2019, the Cabinet of Ministers plans to approve NEKP 2030 so that it is possible to submit the plan to the European Commission for review.

NEKP 2030 will be the main document for the formulation of a sustainable energy and climate policy. NEKP 2030 long-term vision details a sustainable, competitive and safe way to contribute to the development of a climate neutral national economy.

The goal of the plan is bettering efficient use of resources, as well as their sufficiency and variety, as well as ensuring gradual reduction of the use of resources, especially fossil and unsustainable resources, and transitioning towards sustainable, renewable and innovative resources to help develop a sustainable energy sector and reduce climate change.

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