Pledges And Targets
Paris Agreement targets
NDC update: In December 2020, Ukraine announced an updated NDC. Our analysis of its new proposed target is here.
Ukraine ratified the Paris Agreement on 19 September 2016.
Ukraine’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) (Government of Ukraine, 2015) includes a target of reducing GHG emissions by at least 40% below 1990 levels, incl. LULUCF, by 2030. Assuming that Ukraine’s LULUCF sink remains at the average level over the period 2008–2018 (-14 MtCO2e), this NDC translates to an emissions level of up to 544 MtCO2e excl. LULUCF in 2030 (equivalent to 42% below 1990 levels excl. LULUCF). However, the most recent historical data from 2018 shows that emissions excl. LULUCF have already declined by 64% below 1990 levels.
The NDC indicates that “an approach to including the land use, land-use change and forestry in the climate change mitigation structure will be defined as soon as technical opportunities emerge, but no later than 2020”.
Ukraine has not yet defined which LULUCF accounting method it will adopt. For simplicity, and in the absence of other information, this assessment shows the target level excluding LULUCF by subtracting the projected LULUCF sink from the target level incl. LULUCF for 2030. However, it should be noted that if Ukraine was to choose an approach based on Kyoto accounting (limited gross-net) similar to that which the EU is indicating it may choose, it could obtain significant credits, which would increase the level of allowed GHG emissions excluding LULUCF in 2030 by 15 MtCO2e/yr. The size of Ukraine’s removals from the LULUCF sector has overall declined over the period from 1990–2017. In 2018, for the first time on record, the LULUCF sector removed less GHG emissions than it emitted, totalling 3 MtCO2e. From this trend, LULUCF removals are expected to have a minor impact in the future.
Ukraine has stated that it will actively participate in current and future international market mechanisms and its current emission reduction target does not take these market mechanisms into account.
Ukraine has indicated that its NDC will be “revised after the restoration of its territorial integrity and state sovereignty as well as after the approval of post-2020 socio-economic development strategies with account of investment mobilization.” In this revision, Ukraine should elaborate on its intended accounting to take into account LULUCF emissions and international market mechanisms. This would improve the transparency of its target and enable clearer comparisons with other NDCs.
Ukraine is projected to easily meet its NDC based on its current policies. If one were to recalculate Ukraine’s NDC based on current policies and the additional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it would increase its ambition from 530 MtCO2e/year incl. LULUCF to 389-420 MtCO2e/year incl. LULUCF. If we were to translate this emissions level to the language of Ukraine’s NDC, this would be a reduction of 52-56% incl. LULUCF. Therefore, in updating its NDC, Ukraine will need to go beyond this level in order to demonstrate a true progression in scaling up climate action.
2020 pledge and Kyoto target
Ukraine submitted a QELRO1 (Quantified Emission Limitation or Reduction Objective) level of 76% of base year emissions for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. This represents a 14% reduction of average annual emissions in the period of 2013 to 2020 compared to the 1990 base year. The target is conditional on full carry-over and, to directly quote the Government, no "cancellation or any limitation on use of this legitimately acquired sovereign property."
The Doha Amendment limited targets for the second commitment period to the average historical emissions 2008–2010.2 Ukraine is the country most affected by this rule, which leads to a Kyoto pathway almost 300 MtCO2e/year lower than the direct translation of their target for the period 2012–2020. Ukraine has not yet ratified the Doha Amendment.3
In addition, under the Copenhagen Accord, Ukraine has pledged to reduce emissions by 20% below 1990 levels incl. LULUCF by 2020 (22% below 1990 levels excl. LULUCF by 2020) (Government of Ukraine, 2010). The pledge emissions level represents an increase of 116% on 2018 levels excl. LULUCF. Under the current policy projection, Ukraine will easily meet this target: the target is more than twice as high than the projected emissions in 2020 excl. LULUCF. Ukraine’s Copenhagen Pledge is conditional and based on a number of different factors: an agreed range of emissions reductions for Annex I parties, Ukraine’s status as an economy in transition, the flexible mechanisms, 1990 as base year, and to be allowed to continue to carry over surplus AAUs (Article 3.13).
1 | The QELRO, expressed as a percentage in relation to a base year, denotes the average level of emissions that an Annex B Party could emit on an annual basis during a given commitment period
2 | This is part of the Doha decisions which constitutes part of the amendments to the Kyoto Protocol. Amendments only come into effect once they are ratified by Parties.
3 | List of parties that adopted the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol as of 28 September 2017.
For 2050, Ukraine has proposed an emissions reduction target of 50% below 1990 levels (State Environmental Investment Agency of Ukraine, 2014).