Tackling climate change and Estonian energy policy: facilitating a meaningful dialogue about future

The project is completed. It supported a shift towards an eco-friendly energy policy. To this end, it promoted dialog processes and identified ways in which Estonia can switch its energy supply to renewable sources by 2030 in order to become climate-neutral by 2050.


Energy production in Estonia is highly dependent on the use of oil shale which provides 70% of the country’s electricity supply. As a result, Estonia has one of the biggest carbon footprints in the world (14 tons of CO2 per capita), and the trend is rising. At the same time, there is no clearly expressed intention of promoting a transition to renewable energy in coming years. 

The end of the oil shale industry would create major socio-economic risks in north-eastern Estonia and reduce state revenues. So far, there has been very little open discussion among stakeholders about climate policy, a possible energy transition and solutions for the foreseeable socio-economic consequences. 


The project aimed to support dialogue on the country’s future energy supply. To do this, it 1) strengthened the capacity of NGOs, 2) facilitated dialogue by creating a discussion platform to include NGOs, the general public, local governments, business and labour unions, 3) conducted studies to fill information gaps in current climate policy and explored economic perspectives for the currently monofunctional oil-shale Ida-Viru region in north-eastern Estonia, 4) raisied public awareness about climate change and challenges in the energy sector. 

The project included workshops, round tables and an information campaign . These measures were accompanied by the promotion of dialogue on the Internet and social networks. 


Image: Estonian Green Movement, www.roheline.ee

State of Results

The project has managed to initiate a broad social debate on a just transition away from shale oil power generation, which is putting this industry under pressure from various sides. The public discussion on the topic was broadened considerably, giving the project implementers and other NGOs significantly more space in the media and making them actively being requested as experts. 

Although public investment projects are being pursued, important actors such as the banking sector are rejecting further investments in this sector due to economic risks.  

For the affected region, analyses of the employment effects of a shale oil phase-out and a switch to renewable energies, as well as economic prospects were prepared. These analyses, together with the Just Transition Plan elaborated by a broad group of stakeholders, are now available to policymakers as an important data basis for future decisions. 

Project information

Updated: February 2023

Countries: Estonia

Project duration: 09/18 - 12/20

Funding: 324,292 €

Target groups: Cities, towns and municipalities, Civil Society, Companies, Governments, Labor Unions, NGOs, Regional governments

Implementing organisation:
Estonian Fund for Nature (ELF)

Project Partners:
Estonian Environmental Law Center (EELC), Estonian Green Movement (EGM)

Project Website:

Contact Person

Ms Kärt Vaarmari

Organisation: Estonian Fund for Nature

Lai 29
Tartu 51005


The European Climate Initiative (EUKI):

This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

For more information on the EUKI: www.euki.de