Society, awareness and cooperation
Through the history of humankind different societies have had to adjust to climate changes. The climate change taking place in Estonia is predicted to be relatively slow and moderate, there is no reason to believe that the Estonian society will be facing great challenges related to the issue. The climate change affects the livelihood, well-being and health of society (including risks to physical and mental health). The most important change that could impact people is the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather conditions.
Threats that accompany extreme weather conditions do not influence different groups of society equally: the impacts vary depending on the location (e.g. floods in seaside or low-lying areas) and members of the society (the elderly are more susceptible to temperature extremes). The underprivileged members of society – people with lower socio-economic status and low social capital – are endangered the most by the climate changes . Therefore, the climate change might further deepen societal inequalities.
The vulnerability and adjustment capacity of the society is to a large extent also influenced by the level of science and education in the country. The level of science determines to which extent the country is ready for climate change and how well the potential changes can be assessed. In the case of Estonia, the ability to find and interpret the information on climate change is one of the most important factors. The current state of knowledge on climate change among Estonians is relatively low. At the same time, the education and science system in Estonia has the necessary components to address the climate change issues. Currently, the science and education fields in Estonia are more influenced by a decreasing number of children, financing issues and sufficiency of scientists than climate change.
The international relations field in Estonia is the most influenced by the European Union climate policy. In addition, Estonia is one party of the main international agreements and is part of development aid providers to third world countries as a member of the European Union and OECD.