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Ukraine will increase its international climate change commitment. How would that affect the state policy?

Yesterday the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine – Оstap Semerak have announced the review of Ukraine’s national goal to fight climate change. The statement was made during the UN International Climate Negotiations in Poland – СOP24. The review of national contribution will demand the designing of fossil-free economics. And achieving the reviewed commitment requires all the Ukrainian Ministries to co-operate for low-carbon development. State’s more ambitious commitment to the International Climate Agreement will impact government’s policy.

Reviewed contribution has to be supported by all respective Ministries and the Government, climate goals have to be added to reforms concerning economics, infrastructure, education and household communal services.

Nowadays Ukraine’s NDC to Paris Climate Agreement promises to decrease GHG emissions at 60% in comparison to 1990. Ukraine was the first country to submit the 2050 low-carbon development strategy, as suggested by Paris Agreement. This strategy mentions decrease of emissions by 31-34% compared to 1990 level. Ukrainian Climate Network expects that the new contribution will be as high as the goal defined in the strategy.

The Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Ostap Semerak, climate policy priorities as follows:

“It is the time to realize that climate policy is not only about loud speeches and slogans on the world arenas – it is about definite measures concerning modernization of all the sectors of economics. This is why our Government have adopted the Low Carbon Development Strategy until 2050, which not only allowed Ukraine to become the ninth state in the world that developed this document, but also identify clear objectives for developing renewable energy sources, energy efficiency measures and transport infrastructure improvement” – points out the Minister on his official page in social media.

Approaching enhanced national contribution will demand more generous international investments in “green” projects and “green” reforms in all sectors, more State support for energy efficiency and renewables. And most importantly – the country’s vector of energy independence due to the rational use of energy and its generation from renewable sources.

For local level stronger climate policy means that city councils and administrations have to shift finance towards heat modernization of urban and communal sector. They must independently attract and allocate funds for local programs on energy saving and energy efficiency, consider renewable energy as the main source of energy supply.

Illya Yeremenko, the Head of Ukrainian Climate Network, is participating in the climate negotiations and comments on the Minister’s speech:

“It has to be taken into consideration while reviewing national contribution that numerous Ukrainian cities have their own objectives to decrease emissions, even more ambitious than national ones. Uniting national and local objectives is essential for successful implementation of climate policy” – Head of the UCN explains.

The review of Ukraine’s national contribution to fight climate change is consistent with requests at the local level. This summer four Ukrainian cities officially committed to go 100 % renewable by 2050, signing the memorandum with international organization 350.org. According to the leaders of these cities – the goal will provide energy independence at the local level and has a long-term effect. The result of cost savings and reduced gas consumption due to energy efficiency and renewable energy, cities are already experiencing.

Svitlana Romanko, 350.org EECCA regional coordinator“The Minister’s announcement of NDC enhancement commands respect. There are two approaches possible to more ambitious Paris Agreement goals: regions set stronger goals on emissions reduction and adaptation to climate impacts and this stimulates the higher national goals. Or the State sets more ambitious national goal and regions play their role in reaching it. When there is an effective co-operation between local and national levels, the country sets a good example of climate leadership”.

To understand how relevant energy efficiency and renewable energy sources are for Ukrainians is to give an example of the “Warm Credit” program from the Ukrainian State Agency for Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency. The planned funds to support energy conservation measures were used by residents of the country in the first 3 months of the program.

The revision of Ukraine’s national contribution to Paris agreement is supported by international financial institutions and funds – World Bank, EBRD, SIDA. Specialists from Economics and Prognostication Institute under Ukrainian National Science Academy together with Ukrainian Heinrich Bӧll Fund prove through their research that Ukraine has all required technical and economical capabilities to reach 91% renewables in all energy sectors by 2050.

Marharyta Mostova

Ukrainian Climate Network media coordinator

ritamostovaya@gmail.com 

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