The final goal of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), to which Ukraine is a party, is “to reach stabilization of the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level which could not admit the harmful anthropogenic influence on the climate system”. The Convention proposes frames within which the governments of countries throughout the world will be able to cooperate in order to implement new policies and programmes aimed at the protection of the climatic system and its preservation for present and future generations.
The quantitative obligations on restriction and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions have been determined by the Kyoto Protocol agreed at the third session of the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations FCCC.
By this Protocol the industrially developed countries, which Ukraine according to economic indices of 1990 belongs to, should reduce during the years 2008-2012 the total emissions of six gases causing the greenhouse effect by a minimum of 5% in comparison with the level of 1990. The total reduction of emissions will be reached by different levels of decrease in different countries, for instance, in most countries of Europe by 8%, in the USA by 7% and in Canada, Hungary, Japan and Poland by 6%. Ukraine, Russia and New Zealand should stabilize emissions at the level of 1990, while Norway may increase them by 1%, Australia by 8% and Iceland by 10%.
The Kyoto Protocol envisages the implementation of a number of mechanisms (known
as “the flexible mechanisms”), which will promote the achievement of the final goal of
the Convention and provide assistance to the parties indicated in Supplement No. 1 (the
developed countries) in order for them to observe their quantitative obligations
concerning restriction and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
To provide for the effectiveness of the Kyoto Protocol, the parties to the Convention should solve jointly a number of key problems, in particular conditions, rules and procedures for the implementation of “the flexible mechanisms”. This process began in Buenos Aires during the work of the fourth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations FCCC (2-13 November 1998). The Ukrainian delegation took part in the work of the Conference. The so-called Buenos Aires Action Plan was adopted at the Conference. The plan includes, in particular the working programme on “the flexible mechanisms”, and problems of development and transfer of new technologies. Key problems include perspicacity, effectiveness, provision of reporting and monitoring and the possibility to perform inspections through independent auditing of projects under implementation. If these problems are solved, “the flexible mechanisms” may be implemented.
Participation in the Kyoto process is not contradictory to the interests of our country. Ukraine is able to realize a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at lower costs than Western Europe or the USA, for which implementation of internal actions, in particular refinement of technologies at the operating enterprises is extremely costly. The USA, Japan and other developed countries are potentially interested in obtaining from Ukraine units of emission reduction which may be created due to the realization of projects of joint implementation aimed either at a decrease of anthropogenic discharges or at an increase of absorption by greenhouse gas absorbents in any branch of the economy. For Ukraine, participation in the projects of joint implementation and in the international trade with quotas for emissions of greenhouse gases may be a constituent part of the economic recovery.
At present, negotiations with the Netherlands, USA, Canada and Japan are being conducted relating to realization in the near future of projects of joint implementation, that later on may be a basis for the participation of Ukraine on equal terms in the international regime of trade with quotas for emissions of greenhouse gases.
The governmental authorities of Ukraine and the USA have had a number of consultative meetings on cooperation with the purpose to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and, as a result, to decrease the threat of the global climate change. Problems with implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and the Ukrainian-American cooperation received attention during the work in Kyiv of the bilateral commission Kuchma-Gore on 21-22 July 1998. The parties agreed to cooperate in the field of development of methods of joint implementation, reduction of emissions and trade with quotas for emissions of greenhouse gases; and they agreed to issue agreements and obligations of the parties in the form of a Memorandum about cooperation on problems of climate change.
Regular discussions are to be held between the highest officials relative to the spheres of cooperation within the framework of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol; to discuss obstacles and preconditions for the Kyoto Protocol; to determine positive economic and ecological advantages for Ukraine and the USA due to the implementation of the mechanisms concerning the execution of obligations in conformity with the Kyoto Protocol; and to determine issues and concrete measures of the Ukrainian-American cooperation within the projects of joint implementation and also via trade with emission quotas.
The above and other problems were discussed in Kyiv on 11 September 1998 at the meeting of V. Shevchuk, Minister of Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine, and Stewart Eisenschtadt, Vice State Secretary of the USA. The results of discussions on main issues of the cooperation between Ukraine and the USA on problems of climate change, including joint measures, have served as a basis for development of the draft Memorandum between the governments of Ukraine and the USA.
In spite of the difficult economic situation in the country, Ukraine has made the first steps towards a fulfilment of its obligations concerning the provision of information in conformity with Articles 4.1 and 12.1 of the United Nations FCCC. At the beginning of 1998, the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Nuclear Safety of Ukraine organized the preparation and submission to the Convention Secretariat of the first national communication of Ukraine on problems of climate change.
Undoubtedly, all tasks and problems in connection with Ukraine joining the United
Nations FCCC are of great significance. The climate change problem concerns all branches
of the economy irrespective of property forms, as well as each individual citizen.
According to the previous assessment of vulnerability of ecosystems and of certain
economic branches, the climate changes will have considerable after-effects, in particular
for water and forest resources, agriculture, and also for the coastal zone of the Black
Sea and the Sea of Azov. This means that Ukraine’s participation in “the flexible
mechanisms” of the Kyoto process may promote already in the near future a structural
reconstruction of the Ukrainian economy, providing for a creation of the relevant
infrastructure and the training of highly qualified specialists.