Ukraine is set to submit an INDC enabling its GHG emissions to rise around 40% above current levels over the next 15 years after officials opted to recommend the weakest of four tabled options, according to two sources close to the process.
An inter-ministerial panel chose to recommend Ukraine sets the goal, expressed as not exceeding 60% of 1990 level emissions by 2030, the sources said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The recommendation came despite EU-backed advisers Clima East withdrawing its name from all four of the options and tabling its own deeper target, according to a document seen by Carbon Pulse.
Environmental campaigners had also rejected all four options, judging them to be an inadequate contribution to a global climate pact that UN scientists say must deliver global emission cuts of 40-70% below 2010 levels by mid-century to stave off catastrophic climate change.
Ukraine’s officials picked the weakest of the four goals amid concerns that a pro-Russian rebellion in the country’s east has crippled its ability to respond to climate change, as well as a longstanding view that it has already contributed deep emission cuts in the 1990s when its Soviet-era industry collapsed.
“The war is just an excuse, because the attitude has been the same for the past ten years,” said Iryna Stavchuk, of environmental group National Ecological Centre of Ukraine (NECU), who was also present at Tuesday’s meeting as an NGO observer.
“The government just doesn’t seem capable of taking decisions based on solid economic analysis. They just took the easiest option from those proposed,” she said, adding that the target was set above business-as-usual levels, meaning it would require no additional policies.
NECU acknowledges the conflict has shifted Ukraine’s priorities but is urging the government to take on a more ambitious emission target, which they say will help the country rebuild by investing in more efficient infrastructure and reducing its dependence on Russian gas imports.
The recommendation will be sent to the Cabinet of Ministers, with a final decision expected by Prime Minister before October. Ukraine’s environment ministry had not responded to emails seeking comment at time of press.
Ukraine’s four shortlisted options called for cuts of between 40-55% below 1990 levels of 944.4 million tonnes of CO2e, according to a draft INDC seen by Carbon Pulse.
Due to Ukraine’s post-Soviet emissions collapse, the recommended goal of a 40% cut on 1990 levels would actually allow Ukraine’s emissions to rise by 41% above 2012 levels of 402.7 million tonnes, according to calculations that exclude LULUCF.
Although each country is responsible for the content of its INDC, Ukraine received technical support from the EU via its Clima East project, UNDP and the US development agency USAID.
Ahead of the meeting, Clima East had requested to insert a footnote in the meeting’s preparation text stating their experts “have a different position on the suggested greenhouse gas emissions targets”, according to the document seen by Carbon Pulse.
Clima East also inserted its own suggested emission target, a much deeper goal of a 60-65% reduction on 1990 levels based on Ukraine setting energy saving targets, increasing renewable energy and introducing a system of emission pricing.
Neither the footnote nor the fifth option were included in the version of the INDC draft the environment ministry uploaded onto its website, but the officials considered the option alongside the four others at the meeting, the two sources said.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org