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Ukraine became the 69th country to join the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), an exciting step in the organization’s mission to enable people and the planet to thrive by rapidly reducing warming in the short term and maximizing development, health, environmental and food security benefits by slashing short-lived climate pollutants.
"Ukraine endorses meaningful action on short-lived climate pollutants and the framework for the CCAC," said the Deputy Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection, Iryna Stavchuk.
Ukraine has already been impacted by climate change, with the annual temperature and rainfall increasing over the past 100 years. Worsening desertification and rising levels of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov on its southern border are expected in the near future.
Ukraine is going through a period of tremendous change, said Dr. Mykhailo Savenets, a senior researcher in the Ukrainian Hydrometeorological Institute. Consequently, air pollution and climate are becoming frequently used terms among policy makers. This resulted in Ukraine's great interest in working with the CCAC.
“The main task now is to fill the gaps and improve Ukrainian legislation to develop effective mechanisms... It could only be done with the experience exchange we expect from being part of the Coalition,” Dr. Savenets said. “Participation in the CCAC allows us to increase the general knowledge in our society, which might make significant progress in decreasing short-lived climate pollutants.”
With almost 60 percent of the country's arable land used for agricutlure, it makes sense that reducing emissions from agriculture is one of Ukraine’s main priorities. Open burning is still widely practiced across Ukraine, as evidenced by maps developed by Jessica McCarty, the Director of the Geospatial Analysis Center at Miami University. In fact, Ukraine has one of the highest numbers of fires in Europe.
Ukraine’s commitment to tackling the problem is clear not just because of its decision to join CCAC but due to its work with The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI), a network of policymakers and researchers working to protect the frozen parts of Earth’s surface and a CCAC partner since 2012. The organization already organized a trip to the United States for Ukrainian farmers and experts to explore alternatives to open burning.
“The last few years, Ukraine has actively worked to improve the situation with its environment. Many actions have been done, especially in implementing lessons from international experience. Environmental problems are a big concern among our young people,” said Savenets. “In general, Ukraine has already developed a national plan and strategies for waste management, preventing land degradation, low-carbon development, climate change, air quality, ecological control, etc.”
The CCAC is thrilled to be Ukraine’s partner in scaling up these achievements and setting ambitious new targets to create a world without short-lived climate pollutants.
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Experts will provide guidance on technological options, mitigation measures (like those carried out by our initiatives), funding opportunities, application of measurement tools, and policy development.