President of the Republic of Lithuania

Speech by President Gitanas Nausėda at the United Nations Climate Action Summit

2019-09-24

Mr. Secretary-General,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Lithuania fully supports transition to renewable energy, including photovoltaic and wind energy. We are developing specific measures to encourage energy consumers to become energy prosumers – consumers who actively participate in electricity production in a sustainable way. We are introducing a unique remote accounting system for renewable energy generation and consumption in different localities.

However, one of our brightest success stories is sustainable heating and the development of related technologies.

I would like to remind you that in temperate and cold climate countries heating is indispensable. According to the International Energy Agency, globally heating consumes the most – around 50 percent – of total energy. In 2017, only 10 percent of heat was produced from renewables. It means that we are still highly dependent on fossil fuels – which prevents us from delivering a carbon neutral future.

Solutions are not far away. Lithuania believes that energy needs for heating can be covered to a large extent, and especially so in multi-apartment estates, by biomass. This widespread renewable resource can be used in a sustainable way to mitigate climate change and facilitate transition to a green economy.

In Lithuania, the share of biomass in residential district heating has increased from 30 to 70 percent over the last five years, while at the same time average heating prices have fallen by 30 to 40 percent. The biomass exchange launched in Lithuania has clearly demonstrated that trade organized in this way is essential for moving on to a sustainable heating.

Our experience shows that transition to biomass in the residential centralized district heating sector promotes sustainable regional development, diversifies rural economies and reduces national dependence on imported fossil fuels. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps to fight climate change. In addition, the use of biomass creates green jobs and helps to develop new industrial chains, from biomass production to applied research aimed at utilizing and advancing new proven technologies.

I am personally committed to effective and strong action against climate change. Therefore, I am launching a global initiative “Transition to a Sustainable Heating” as part of the decarbonization goal. We need to raise the awareness about biomass and its benefits to the environment and the economy as widely as possible. We need to share sustainable heating technologies, expertise and to put our efforts together to create instruments that would ensure high quality and sustainability standards as well as cost-effective biomass price. Finally, we need to support nature-friendly forestry methods.

All of this would ensure the long-term development of sustainable heating model. It might also be one of the prerequisites for our successful transition to a climate neutral economy.

I am pleased to inform you that our initiative so far has been supported by a number of countries, including Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Georgia, and Latvia. Some other countries are on the way to join it as well. I thank all of them.

Now is the time. Let us move towards a better common future.

Gitanas Nausėda, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Last updated 2019.09.24 01:23

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