June 18, 2020

Coal: Reform of the energy sector and the fight against the climate crisis put on pause in Ukraine.

Press release 350.org in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia  


Kiev, 17th June: Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal and former manager of the largest Ukrainian energy production and coal holding company DTEK has announced that “coal will become the main fuel for the production of electricity at thermal power plants.”

“The order provides for the priority use of domestic thermal coal for the production of electricity at thermal power plants,” – said Acting Minister of Energy of Ukraine Olga Boguslavets.

Meanwhile the development of the renewable energy sector  been stalled by the  Cabinet of  Ministers and foreign and Ukrainian investors who are rapidly stopping their investment in the renewable energy sector.. This was recently announced by the Energy Transition coalition, which includes, in particular, 350.org EECCA.

The reform of the energy sector and the fight against the climate crisis have been put on pause in Ukraine.

Svitlana Romanko, Managing Director of 350.org in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

“ Under the guise of stabilizing the energy system, the Cabinet of Ministers has made a decision that will exacerbate the climate, energy and social crisis in Ukraine. Such support for fossil fuel energy monopolies is far from fair. The cost of coal is not only the cost of extraction, delivery and incineration, it is also the cost of the health and lives of millions of people who live near coal-fired power plants and breathe air with carcinogens. These costs are not included in the price of electricity, as well as losses from climate risks. Using “cheap” coal as opposed to renewables, Ukraine will soon pay much more for being behind the EU’s Green Deal and a just recovery plan”

The full analysis of a Program of activities of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine by 350 EECCA from a perspective of climate crisis, just recovery and green economy measures has been  published here. The Ukrainian Energy Transition coalition has published this statement on the outdated and climate disastrous energy policy of Ukraine.

Svitlana Romanko, Managing Director of 350.org in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

“We are concerned that the Ukrainian government could use EU financial assistance to stimulate unpromising dying fossil fuel industries and support oligarchic vested interests. Instead of overcoming the COVID-19 and climate crisis by investing in health care, direct financial assistance to the citizens and small and medium enterprises increasing the resilience of settlements, communities and agriculture of Ukraine to climate change, ensuring a green energy transition and the implementation of the Green Deal.

Yulia Melnyk (Pashkovska), 350.org Regional Campaigner in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia.

“Under the guise of national interests and support of Ukrainian producers and miners, the government is taking away our chances for a secure and reformed future for all Ukrainians. The energy sector is in deep crisis – most power units should be decommissioned in the next 5-10 years. If you constantly postpone changes and say not this time and there is no resources, then changes will never happen.

The international climate organisation 350.org opposes state subsidies for the extraction of fossil fuels, because the burning of coal, oil and gas is the cause of the climate crisis on the planet. We call on the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to abandon the decision to invest in coal and take the green course as a strategy for development!”

Notes to editor 

-From 2017 to 2019, the government poured more than 5 billion hryvnias in support of unprofitable coal companies that sell coal to private power plants at a reduced price. The Accounting Chamber has already indicated the effectiveness of spending these funds on direct subsidies to the coal industry.

-Coal mining companies, despite state support for the last twenty years, are constantly degrading. The main reasons are the lack of reforms in the energy sector as just transition and closure of mines and inconsistency in financing. The government has pledged UAH 1.96 billion to restructure the coal industry in 2020. One billion of them were planned to be spent on technical re-equipment and modernization of mines, the ministry said.

-“It is economically more profitable for the state to close unprofitable mines than to continue subsidising them. Of course, this should happen with social programs for miners, the possibility of reorientation in terms of new jobs and in terms of long-term payment of funds so that they can find other jobs”, said Acting Minister of Environment Iryna Stavchuk at a briefing following the UN Climate Conference in 2019.

-In December 2019, former Minister of Energy and Environment Oleksiy Orzhel during COP25 (The annual UN climate conference) stated that Ukraine will develop a strategy for the transition to renewable energy, introduce taxes on fossil fuels and reform. The change of leadership of the government and ministries has seen a swift u-turn on energy policy.

-Recently, CO2 levels reached their highest level in 23 million years on Earth. The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii in May recorded a record concentration of carbon dioxide – 417 parts per million. The previous anti-record of 414.8 parts per million was set last year. This means that each country must make the transition from fossil to clean energy as quickly as possible to ensure human existence.