On April 22, 2019, presidential elections took place in Ukraine. According to early results, Ukrainians gave 73% of their votes for Volodymyr Zelenskyi. The official report of the Central Election Commission will be published by May 1, 2019, and official results will be published on May 4.
The 350.org EECCA team supports fair, independent and democratic elections in Ukraine as a free and sovereign European state. We congratulate President Volodymyr Zelenskyi on his new position as the head of state, and as an environmental organization, we insist that the newly elected President for 2019-2023 should become the main driver of how the largest country in Europe adapts to climate changes and addresses critical environmental challenges of the present.
Will Ukrainians have affordable, renewable, safe and environmentally-friendly energy, or vice versa, energy dependence on monopolized coal and nuclear energy? Will the country go on subsidizing fossil fuel industry or make 100% renewable energy its policy and fulfill its international obligations under the Paris Agreement?
But the main question is whether we will create a comfortable social environment for future generations, or “drown” in conflicts and struggle for clean water, safe air and safe land?
As an organization that has been working in Ukraine for five years and consistently supporting communities of 10 cities, 350.org in Ukraine pins our hopes on the newly-elected President of the country and is always ready to support useful and long-term changes at the local and national level.
We encourage and urge the President-elect of Ukraine and his future government not to start new gas, oil, or coal mining enterprises and gradually close down the existing ones; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency and introduction of renewable energy technologies and other environmental solutions, not to finance or subsidize fossil fuel industry in Ukraine.
While remaining apolitical, we expect everyone appointed to positions with appropriate political influence to suggest effective solutions to counteract climate change, as well as interact with concerned citizens. It is the responsibility of every political leader at all levels to stop excessive human impact on the environment and to adapt countries to climate change.
We believe that the unprecedented vote of confidence given to Volodymyr Zelenskyi by 73.5% of voters in the presidential election will be the best incentive for him not only to go on with reforms in important sectors of the economy, but also to achieve new ambitious goals in the field of environmental protection. When implementing the Country Environment Section of the election program, counteracting climate change and transitioning to 100% renewable energy transition should be priorities.
We emphasize that a coalition of 17 environmental organizations of Ukraine has put forward an agenda of issues to all presidential nominees, which includes the most important environmental challenges of the state. But the public did not get adequate regard from any of the nominees.
The most important thing for a powerful environmental movement in Ukraine is to avoid a shrinking of proactive civil society participation and to preserve and increase important environmental reforms and initiatives of the state:
- Review and approve a new ambitious nationally-specific contribution to Paris Climate Agreement based on the scenario of Ukraine’s transition to 100% renewable energy and implement its goals.
- Review the goals of the National Energy Strategy of Ukraine till 2035 towards more ambitious ones so that the country can implement the energy transition to renewable sources by 2050.
- Ensure proper functioning and development of the newly established Energy Efficiency Fund, implementation of the Law On Environmental Impact Assessment, Strategic Environmental Assessment and the Law On Principles of Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
- Promote transparent procedure for the adoption of 8449-д Act to ensure a competitive environment for electricity production from alternative energy sources and enable development of small-scale distributed generation in Ukraine in order to ensure fair
access to clean energy for everyone.
- Lay groundwork for the development of smart grids and free access to data in energy and environmental sectors.
Dear Mr. President, you have five years ahead and great confidence from Ukrainians and the world! Change the system, not climate.