Only by giving up fossil energy sources and increasing energy efficiency environment catastrophe can be stopped –government and experts

Only by giving up fossil energy sources and increasing energy efficiency environment catastrophe can be stopped –government and experts
December 23, 2015.

Kyiv, December 23, 2015. The new global climate agreement was adopted in Paris on December 12. Hundred and ninety two countries supported the decision. The document is planned to be signed on April 22, 2016. Then the signatory countries will start ratification. The new global environmental target is to keep the increase in global average temperature below 2°C. However, even such measures will not help neutralize the threats to existence for some countries, first of all the island countries. That’s why the countries also agreed to put up all the efforts so that increase does not exceed 1,5°C. To achieve this each state prepared its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) for the new climate deal – plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Ukraine defined its INDC at the level not exceeding 60% from the basic 1990 level, said Svitlana Kolomiyets, Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“INDC are national ambitions of countries’, so to say their targets. The countries have to be more ambitious. According to expert estimations even if the countries strictly comply with the suggested plans they will be able to keep the increase in global average temperature only by 2,7°C,” emphasized Kolomiyets. That’s why the parties agreed to revise their INDC every five years in order to improve their figures. As for Ukraine, it was much criticized as Ukraine’s emissions level currently constitutes a bit over 40 percent. “Ukraine’s INDC foresees huge increase of emissions, while the development scenario does not foresee any energy-saving measures, no market share increase of renewable energy sources, no policy changes,” emphasized Iryna Stavchuk from the NGO ‘National Ecological Centre of Ukraine’. Vladyslav Vezhnin, head of ecological department at the Ministry of Environment and National Resources of Ukraine, noted that such level is explained by the general economic downturn not by energy saving measures. However, he is convinced that Ukraine’s potential is significantly higher. Deputy Minister also added that in order to set a more ambitious goal, Ukraine requires resources and a clear strategy of transition to alternative sources of energy, as well as refusal from fossil energy sources.

Stavchuk said that “Ukraine’s climate-saving policy is an economic necessity”. Energy-saving (including houses insulation, reconstruction of housing infrastructure, investment in energy efficient technologies) and developing renewable energy sources are implied. Such development path can ensure economic growth. Kyrylo Tomlyak, Advisor to the Head of the State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving of Ukraine, said several global initiatives were born on the margins of the Paris Conference that united activists, business community etc. One of them is the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction that Ukraine joined. Its main aim is to exchange experience and work out joint international projects for quick and considerable decrease of gas emissions through energy efficient construction and thermal modernization of existing housing facilities. Tomlyak also noted that there is a discussion on replacing subsidies with targeted assistance that is supposed to make the process more transparent and to increase energy efficiency. He also reminded that the program providing partial reimbursement of the cost of energy efficient materials is operational in Ukraine.

Strategy for Ukraine’s sustainable development is now at stage of formulation within a UNDP project. Vezhnin also added that the Ministry is also working over the environmental strategy. “This matter involves the entire Cabinet of Ministers, all economic sectors. All government members need to take part in implementing this policy,” he emphasized and said he hopes that they will jointly work out a clear plan with defined steps and deadlines.

Kolomiyets said the new climate agreement in contrast to the Kyoto Protocol does not group countries based on level of their economic development. Instead the document mentions both the developed countries and the developing ones without closed lists. It will be decided on a case-by-case basis if the country is able to provide the aid or whether it needs assistance. Venzhyn said USD 100 billion is mentioned in the document however the mechanism for its use and distribution is not stated. “We expect that such assistance and financing mechanism to be developed at next meetings. We also expect to see where Ukraine will be placed within this system,” he added. “Main thing is to organize the system correctly at the governmental level. The only way to receive financial support is through reforms process or by implementing any other applicable measures,” emphasized Stavchuk.

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