Lithuania’s ambitions to combat climate change

Date

2019 11 13

Rating
2
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The Government has largely supported the integrated draft National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for the period 2021-2030, laying down Lithuania’s ambitions to combat climate change. People are invited to give their say on this plan by 4 December.

‘The European Union has set itself ambitious targets for a shift towards a climate-neutral economy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, therefore, the fight against climate change has been and will continue to be one of the most important goals of the Community for many years ahead. The plan approved by the Cabinet of Ministers speaks about our commitment to the planet, to the flora and fauna, to ourselves and to our children and grandchildren’, says Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis.

Lithuania, as the responsible member of the European Union (EU), will continue to comply with all the commitments undertaken by the Community for the purpose of implementing the United Nations Goals for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. These commitments cover, in principle, three tasks to be completed by 2030: bringing down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% (compared to 2005); improving energy efficiency by at least 32.5% and increasing the share of renewable energy sources in the overall energy mix up to 32%.

As in the case of any other EU member, specific targets have been set for Lithuania taking account of its energy situation, economic and natural conditions. We need to achieve by 2030 that GHG emissions are reduced by 9% (compared to 2005), energy intensity brought down by at least 1.5 times (compared to 2017), and the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix increased to 45%.

Like each member of the EU, Lithuania must submit to the European Commission by the end of this year a National Energy and Climate Plan detailing the ways to achieve the national climate change targets. Failure to fulfil the commitments would cost our country in terms of emission allowances up to EUR 300 million. However, it is important to understand that climate change mitigation measures help deliver these EU commitments while raising the competitiveness of our country and transforming our economy to yield higher added value. These measures need to be implemented in the first place for the chance of living in a cleaner environment and for greater energy efficiency.

According to the plan drawn up by the Government in close consultation with social and economic partners, associations and the public, the planned measures will require EUR 14 billion, with possibly EUR 9.6 billion coming from public funds. The most of the funds, around EUR 10.8 billion, will be allocated for the implementation of the national energy independence objectives and Lithuania’s commitments to the EU on mitigating the impact on climate change and thereby promoting cross-sectoral technological and operational changes. Lithuania is also planning to allocate EUR 3.3 billion to climate change adaptation. All the attention and half of the funds will be dedicated to the projects of infrastructure resilience in a time of continuous climatic change. The plan provides for the construction of resilient road surfaces and projects for the resilience of electricity distribution infrastructure and rainwater management. It encourages agricultural insurance and organic and climate-resilient farming. The plans are to implement measures for public health, management of extreme events, introduction of innovations, forestry, ecosystems, biodiversity and the landscape, as well as other sectors. Most of these funds will come from EU funds and the national budget. The money will be used to implement technological changes needed to mitigate the impact on climate change in different sectors.

Lithuania is among the leaders in the development of renewable energy in the EU: together with Denmark, Estonia, Spain and Portugal, it is among the five most ambitious countries in the EU by renewable energy targets for 2030. By building several interconnections with the Western European electricity system, converting district heating systems to the use of biofuels, approving additional auctions for the production of solar and wind electricity and by promoting prosumer policy, Lithuania will have the potential to exceed by 1.5 times EU’s overall clean energy production target. Lithuania is projected to have 45% of its electricity coming from renewable energy sources by 2030.

The renovation of public and residential buildings, the promotion of energy efficiency in industry and services, the promotion of sustainable mobility and other measures make it possible to expect the decline in Lithuania’s energy needs by 2030 by almost one fifth, thereby contributing to national security objectives by reducing dependence on the import of polluting fuels.

According to the NECP, the implementation of all the planned measures by 2030 will reduce GHG emissions: by 8.1% in the transport sector, 9.1% in agriculture, 9.8% in industry and 52.4% in the waste sector.

As a result of all the measures, in 2030, 70% of rail freight will be transported by electric trains and 14% of passenger cars will be electric. The total fuel consumption in Lithuania will come down by 24%, thereby effectively reducing our import dependency. According to the projections, Lithuanian industries will make use of cleaner technologies, farmers will bring down the use of mineral fertilisers by 17% and forest areas will grow by 8 hectares every year.

For greater sustainability and competitiveness of the agricultural sector, efforts will be made towards a more balanced and efficient use of resources for agricultural production. The development of sectoral competencies and production technologies will bring down the use of energy and production resources by 20%.

Innovation by using less polluting technologies is expected to increase the production, productivity and trade of domestic industries. The mitigation of the negative impact of climate change on the environment and the transition to a circular economy will increase the focus on environmental protection and growth in the country’s economy. Following the approval of the NECP by the Government, it will be re-submitted for public consultation as of today, i.e. 13 November. People are invited to give their say on the NECP by 4 December. The finalised NECP plan to be subsequently submitted to the European Commission is scheduled to be adopted at the Government’s meeting on 18 December.

On 22-29 November, the Government organises a ‘Climate Change Week’, where scientists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, farmers and all those who are indifferent to our planet will have a possibility of discussing Lithuania’s ambitions to tackle climate change.

More information is available here.

Please send any comments you may have on the plan: NEKSplanas@enmin.lt

Public consultation on the plan is here.