Green dream to rebuild sustainable Ukraine from the rubble of war

The similarities between Europe and post-war Ukraine are many. Williams said Ukraine, like Europe at the time, would need additional manpower and a stream of money to rebuild its economy in tatters. Case in point: Architects made up just 0.08 percent of Ukraine’s total pre-war population (compared to 0.25 percent in the larger European Union), too few for the state to rebuild itself, the National Union of Architects of Ukraine’s Lydia Chizhevska. He told a commission on Ukraine’s reconstruction at a UN meeting in June in the Polish city of Katowice. As with post-World War II Europe, existing geopolitical factors sparked a desire to “harass” and “exclude” Russia, Williams said.

But unlike that era, Williams added, it is the desire to evoke the EU’s “current obsessions,” rather than American ones, that drives the reconstruction plan that is currently being drafted. “It may be because they want to integrate Ukraine into the future of Europe,” he said. These concerns include the European Green Deal, a set of policy proposals to make the bloc climate-neutral by 2050, the professor added.

Ukraine’s pre-war dependence on Russian fossil fuels reminds Olina Pavlenko, head of DiXi Group in Kyiv, with the Ukrainian saying “life or wallet,” a tough question that thieves don’t win “on the dark streets.”

Andrian Prokip of the Ukrainian Institute for the Future, another Kyiv think tank, said one way out of the problematic relationship is for Ukraine to implement the European Green Deal’s renewable energy target of at least 32 percent by 2030.

In a video interview in May, Irina Stavchuk, then a deputy minister in Ukraine’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, argued that dotting the landscape with renewables would not only serve the environment and help achieve energy independence in Ukraine, but would also lead to decentralization on her. Electricity sources, thus enhancing the integrity of the system “if something happens”. When she was asked to clarify what she meant, Stavchuk said with a gloomy chuckle: “I just don’t want to think that Russia will invade us again.” (Stavchuk has since left her role as deputy minister after a new minister was appointed.) Prokip was more vocal about Russia’s wartime damage to Ukraine’s renewable and non-renewable power plants: “Renewable power plants are harder to destroy with missiles than with missiles. To conventional power plants “, because renewable sources such as solar and wind farms are scattered more than thermal or nuclear power plants for the same amount of energy produced.

Ukraine’s candidacy for the EU could partially finance its adoption of the low-carbon practices that Stavchuk has raised. Ukraine’s climate policies have certainly gravitated toward those of the European Union since it took its first interim step into the bloc in 2014 by signing the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, said Tibor Schaffhauser, who co-founded the Green Policy. Center, a Hungarian think tank on climate policy. Under these agreements, non-EU countries must begin to embrace the bloc’s rules on multiple fronts, including in the area of ​​climate and energy policy, as a precondition for pushing their candidacy forward. Indeed, before the war, Schaffhauser said, Ukraine did so in earnest and somewhat faster than Moldova and Georgia, two similar countries with ambitions for EU membership.

In 2019, Ukraine banned hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas widely used in refrigeration. That same year, it adopted legislation to measure greenhouse gas emissions, known as the Monitoring, Reporting and Verification System. This step is necessary to establish national cap-and-trade regimes, and will eventually enable Ukraine to join the EU emissions trading system, one of the pillars of EU policy to combat climate change. Then, five days into the war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hastened the European Union’s request for his country, mass appeal to give him “immediate accession” in the face of a Russian invasion. Only four months later, the European Union largely agreed, granting him candidate status.

The move was hailed as a symbolic milestone. But Marie-Yves Belanger, senior researcher at the Swiss University of ETH Zurich, says the impact of the significant funding that the EU will direct towards Ukraine due to its status as a candidate should not be ignored. Bellanger estimates that based on Ukraine’s population size, you could make more than $696 million annually as a candidate to join the European Union. The researcher said that last year, by way of comparison, Ukraine received $140 million in support from the European Union to neighboring countries. She said the new influx of funds, in addition to reconstruction funds, represented one additional channel through which the bloc could encourage climate-friendly reconstruction by adapting the funds to low-carbon policies.

It remains to be seen whether Ukraine will find a way to deliver on its promises. Environmentalists have ranged criticism of the government’s draft Ukrainian recovery plan from “scattered” sincere “Environmental ControlFor example, because of the proposed projects that would facilitate the extraction of timber. The draft plan has also been criticized for proposing a fast-track to a process that would normally require an in-depth measurement of the environmental impact of planned industrial facilities.

For Andriy Andrusevych, chief policy expert at the Center for Resource and Analysis “Society and Environment,” a Lviv-based think tank, the jury is still out on whether the plan will implement Zelensky’s political agenda of seizing the opportunity to align the country with the EU and its low-key policies carbon. The National Council for the Recovery of Ukraine from the Consequences of the War, a body created by the President, is still finalizing Scheme.

The latest version of the plan encourages energy efficiency and a low-carbon steel industry fueled by clean hydrogen instead of dirty fossil fuels, Androsevich said. The analyst believes that such medium-term goals are merely “informational” that lack economic models to support them. However, he also cautions against viewing commitments as “merely window dressing.” This is because “the political will is very strong to implement these reforms as quickly as possible so that we can qualify for entry into the European Union on these technical grounds,” he said.

The bottom line: “If the reconstruction plan is not green, then the environmental reforms will be the last reforms to be implemented,” he said. “If it is a green reconstruction plan, environmental reforms will be higher on the agenda.”

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