The post-Soviet state has increased its climate ambition but campaigners say it could do more to insulate draughty housing and promote clean energy.
Ukraine plans to reduce its emissions slightly while growing its economy, reducing poverty and fighting a war with Russia, according to its latest climate plan.
The country, one of the poorest in Europe, aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from 62% below 1990 levels in 2019 to 65% below 1990 levels in 2030.
Environment and natural resources minister Roman Abramovsky told Climate Home News through a translator the target was only possible with “huge decarbonisation based on unit of GDP”. The government’s recent national economic growth strategy projects annual economic growth of up to 7% a year and industrial development.
It is the “first ever real ambition from Ukraine”, according to government adviser Oleksei Riabchyn, who has represented his country at several UN climate negotiations.
As with many ex-Soviet countries, a 1990 baseline makes Ukraine’s emissions reductions look impressive. But they largely result from the economic collapse which followed the Soviet Union’s disintegration, rather than climate policies.
Ukraine’s previous nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, submitted in 2016, had a 2030 target of just 40% below 1990 levels. This would have allowed a large rise in emissions from today and was judged “critically insufficient” by Climate Action Tracker, aligning with more than 4C of global warming, not the “well below 2C” goal of the Paris Agreement.
“Under all approaches consistent with limiting warming below 2C, [Ukraine’s] emissions should be steadily decreasing,” said Climate Action Tracker.