This week, on the eve of the World Climate Protection day, Ukraine’s Ministry of Ecology of signed an open memorandum of cooperation with 350.org in Eastern Europe to work together to resist climate change in Ukraine, implement climate action policies and vision of a fossil free future, and highly involve civil society organizations in raising environmental awareness in Ukraine.

350.org EECCA team leader, Svitlana Romanko with Ukraine’s Minister of Ecology, Ostap Semerak

Climate change is affecting Ukraine significantly, and the country urgently needs an ambitious climate policy.

Speaking at a UNDP environmental forum in Ukraine this week, Ostap Semerak, the Minister of Ecology stressed, “Research conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the consequences of a 1.5 C warming demonstrates that the countries need to take global and urgent action in the energy sphere, transport, industry and city building. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. And by 2050 we need to cut them totally. This aim seems unrealistic now.  But this is something we need to strive for and make gradual environmental decisions”.

An important issue in the memorandum is the agreement to raise awareness among Ukrainians on threats from climate change, to intensify a transition to renewable energy sources in cities, and to reinforce public involvement in discussing actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in communities and their adaptation to climate change.

The Ukrainian hydro-meteorological agency reported a significant increase in the temperatures in the country, which means it has been hit by record breaking extreme heat waves and natural disasters for several years in a row. As Semerak noted, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere already exceeds the norm and has reached 415 parts per million. People are suffering climate change-related losses every day. In 2018, more than 62 million people suffered from large-scale climate impacts. This is more than the total population of Ukraine. Millions of climate refugees have already been forced to leave their homes because of climate change, said the Minister.

The future of our climate depends both on the powerful public pressure to unconditionally ban fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with climate and energy solutions, and on the political will of institutions and decision makers. That is why 350.org in Eastern Europe is happy to be part of this open and transparent agreement to intensify the public role in state climate policy making to create a fossil free future and to urgently set up a National Climate Action Plan, initiated by the communities in Ukraine, for enabling fast and just transition to 100% of renewable energy in the cities till 2050.

Learn more about the renewable energy work in Ukraine at cityforlife.org (site in Ukrainian).

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