Estonia: cashing in on deforestation?
Estonia's government wants to pay the country's state-owned energy company Eesti Energia 10 million euros in subsidies over two years to burn wood in old power plants. The goal is to keep energy costs low in the structurally weak north-east region. Estonia has an abundance of forests, but since Tallinn gave permission for the clear-cutting of trees even in nature reserves in 2015, its forested areas have shrunken. The national press is nonplussed.
Flying in the face of better judgement
Eesti Päevaleht says the plan contradicts common sense:
“Five hundred scientists have implored politicians to refrain from such practices because they destroy biodiversity and promote global warming. ... With this scheme the coalition is also showing that it has no long-term plan for solving the problems in north-eastern Estonia. On the contrary, it's just trying to muddle through as usual. Interestingly, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas understands very well how wrong it is to produce electricity from wood. To be taken seriously, she should make her words count.”
A hypocritical about-face
It's hypocritical of the ruling Reform Party to start pushing the wood-burning subsidy, ERR fumes:
“Only a year ago, MPs from the current ruling party, then in opposition, also pointed out the contradictions. If the proposal is really adopted with their support, the party's switch from critic to enabler would be truly contradictory. ... The situation can still be saved if the environmental impact is thoroughly investigated before adopting the legislation, measures against environmental damage are ensured and a level playing field is created for all market participants. But if the government just goes ahead as planned, the public should at least find out what the Reform Party is getting in exchange for giving up its principles.”