Construction of the shale oil plant continues.
There is no place for new fossil fuel production in the climate crisis.
The climate crisis is caused by fossil fuels. It threatens the fate of human civilization within our lifetime. These facts were well known in the spring of 2020, when the municipality of Narva-Jõesuu granted a construction permit to Eesti Energia for a shale oil plant.
Our claim is simple: To keep climate change within livable limits, fossil fuels must remain in the ground. This should have been taken into account when granting the construction permit to the shale oil plant.
In early 2020, Fridays for Future Estonia (officially the MTÜ Loodusvõlu) turned to the court to annul the construction permit granted to the plant. And with that prevent 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions per year – equivalent to about a tenth of Estonia’s national emissions. The decision of the Supreme Court of Estonia is expected on October 11, 2023.
The Government allocates 125 million euros to Eesti Energia. The municipality of Narva-Jõesuu grants the construction permit for the shale oil plant.
Tartu Administrative Court rejects the claim and allows the construction to continue.
The Supreme Court of Estonia announces its decision to satisfy the appeal and to stop the construction of Eesti Energia’s new Enefit280-2 shale oil plant.
Content of the court case
The climate impact of the shale oil plant has not been considered. When establishing the zoning plan and granting the construction permit, the impact of the oil plant on climate was assessed inadequately, and the best scientific knowledge about the seriousness of climate change was not considered. The carbon emissions resulting from burning the oil produced in the oil factory were not even calculated before the permit was issued. Despite the fact that the operation of the shale oil plant and burning the oil produce carbon emissions equivalent to one tenth of the emissions of Estonia, the municipality of Narva-Jõesuu did not determine whether it was legal to allow such emissions from an environmental standpoint.
Constructing the shale oil plant stops Estonia from fulfilling the Paris Agreement. By signing the Paris Agreement, Estonia committed to efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C. As a relatively prosperous and highly developed country, Estonia also agreed to reduce its carbon emissions faster than the world average. The actions of the next decade determine whether it is possible to keep global warming under 1.5°C. However, by constructing and operating the shale oil plant, Estonia adds 1.6 million tons of carbon emissions to the atmosphere each year – or a tenth of its national emissions. That is precisely the opposite of what we should be doing. Climate change had already become a grave global threat by the spring of 2020, so the municipality of Narva-Jõesuu must have known that when it comes to limiting dangerous global warming, every shale oil plant matters.
The shale oil plant is in conflict with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Climate change threatens people’s lives, health, and food security worldwide. As climate change intensifies, inequality increases, because the most vulnerable and marginalized people are the least protected in the face of extreme weather. In fact, one of the Sustainable Development Goals is taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Constructing the shale oil plant exacerbates climate change and thus hinders the achievement of all sustainable development goals worldwide.
The lawsuit has been possible thanks to the efforts of dozens of activists and supporters.
Kertu Birgit is a member of MTÜ Loodusvõlu, represents the youth in the media in relation to the court case and organises the communication.
Henri is a member of MTÜ Loodusvõlu, manages the finances and supports media and communication activities.
Kriš initiated youth climate strikes in Estonia. In the lawsuit, they offer moral support and take part in communication activities.
The youth are supported by the Estonian Environmental Law Center.
For more information, feel free to contact Kertu Birgit Anton (kertu.birgit(at)fridaysforfuture.ee) or Kärt Vaarmari, a legal expert at the EELC (kart(at)k6k.ee).
The court case has been costly and has been possible only thanks to donors.
As of March of this year, 164 donors have contributed a total of 12,392 euros to the court case.
In addition, the Centre for Climate Integrity, a U.S. climate justice centre, has supported the case on a project basis. In 2020, IGSD granted us $10,000 (8,212 euros) for proceedings in the administrative court and also $10,000 in 2021 for proceedings in the circuit court.
Thank you very much!