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In brief

What is Ukraineʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Economy wide

This analysis was conducted on the basis of Ukraine’s 2021 updated nationally determined contribution and before the brutal and unwarranted Russian military invasion in the country.

We are publishing it to show that the Ukrainian government had plans in place to facilitate a transition to a low carbon economy.

Once peace is restored, in addition to very large reconstruction and humanitarian needs, Ukraine will need international support to build a climate-resilient society and economy in line with the Paris Agreement.

Ukraineʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−80%−60%−40%−20%0%19902010203020502070
Net zero GHG excl. LULUCF*
2067
Reference year
1990
1.5°C emissions level
−85%
NDC
−66%
Ambition gap
−19%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

Net zero

Ukraine’s updated NDC includes a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2060.

1 Government of Ukraine. 2020 Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table. (2020).

2 Prokip, A. The Energy Crisis in Ukraine: Predicted, But Still a Surprise. Focus Ukraine: A blog of the Kennan Institute. (2020).

3 Kinstellar. Ukraine introduces long-awaited changes to incentives for renewable energy. Lexology. (2020).

4 Mykhailenko, O. et al. Quarterly Monitoring Report on the Implementation of Ukraine’s Energy Action Plan. (2019).

5 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine’s energy strategy for the period up to 2035. (2017).

6 Climate Action Tracker. Ukraine | Climate Target Update Tracker.

7 Government of Ukraine. Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of Ukraine to a New Global Climate Agreement. (2015).

8 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine will intensify its participation in the global fight against climate change – President at the International Climate Ambition Summit. (2020).

9 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine. 2020 National Inventory Report (NIR). (2020).

10 Government of Ukraine. On approval of the National Transport Strategy of Ukraine for the period up to 2030. (2018).

11 Government of Ukraine. Green Energy Transition of Ukraine until 2050. (2020).

12 Climate Action Tracker. Ukraine | June 2020 Update. (2020).

13 Global Forest Watch. Ukraine Deforestation Rates & Statistics | GFW. (2020).

14 IEF. Support to the Government of Ukraine on updating its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) -Report 3/ Modelling Report. (2021).

15 Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection Ukraine. КОНЦЕПЦІЯ ЕНЕРГЕТИЧНОГО УКРАЇНИ (Ukraine Green Deal). (2020).

16 Government of Ukraine. Ukraine – Common Reporting Format (CRF) Table. (2021).

17 Breunig, J. A revision of Ukraine’s Carbon Tax. (2020).

18 GIZ. Successful climate mitigation through emissions trading. (2021).

19 Ministry of Energy and Environmental Protection Ukraine. Analytical Review of the Updated Nationally Determined Contribution of Ukraine to the Paris Agreement. (2021). Report_ Project_EN.PDF

20 Government of Ukraine. On approval of the National Transport Strategy of Ukraine for the period up to 2030. (2018).

21 UkraineInvest. Electric cars market growth: how Ukraine can benefit. (2020).

22 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

2050 Ambition

Our analysis shows that GHG emissions (excluding LULUCF) need to be reduced by 92-97% below 1990 levels by 2050 or reach levels 30-74 MtCO₂e excluding LULUCF. Remaining emissions will need to be balanced by negative emissions from the land sector or other carbon dioxide removal approaches. However, recent trends show Ukraine’s forestry emissions are on the cusp of becoming a net source of emissions, which will need to be reversed to align with a 1.5°C compatible pathway.

Long-term decarbonisation

The draft Green Energy Transition Until 2050 also specifies that a 70% share of renewable energy in the power sector is technically feasible, however there are currently no such long-term targets adopted.22

2030 Ambition

Ukraine updated its NDC in July 2021, strengthening it significantly from at least a 40% reduction below 1990 levels (41% excluding LULUCF emissions) to a 65% reduction below 1990 levels (66% excluding LULUCF). This still falls considerably short of the 85% reduction by 2030 needed to be aligned with the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. Ukraine would require additional policies to meet its new target, let alone a 1.5°C compatible target.

Sectors

Power

  • The Ukrainian government projects a renewable share of power generation of just 13%, far short of a 1.5°C compatible share of 67%. The strategy also forecasts a fossil fuel share of 34% in 2030, which is more than double the upper limit of a 1.5°C compatible range of 8-16%, and only marginally lower than the 39% reported in 2020.
  • This strategy is currently under review, making now an ideal time to update it with ambitious 1.5°C compatible targets for renewable energy generation and a coal phase-out.
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Buildings

  • To ensure Ukraine is aligned with the illustrative 1.5°C pathways, direct emissions from buildings should decline to around one fifth of their 1990 levels by 2030, and reach zero between 2040 and 2050.
  • Recent efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Ukraine’s building stock have centred on funds and loans to implement upgrades to residential buildings, but the scale of funding is not yet sufficient to achieve the wholesale changes necessary.
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Transport

  • Transport emissions would be allowed to rise to 2030 under the 64% reduction target set in Ukraine’s updated NDC, as emissions in 2017 were already 69% below 1990 levels.
  • A slight increase of the current target to 66% below 1990 levels would place it at the edge of the range of illustrative 1.5°C pathways (66-76%).
  • Ukraine’s National Transport Strategy is lacking in detail, with many targets not quantified, including the “development of cycling infrastructure”, “allocation of separate lanes for public transport”, and “increase the share of public transport”.
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Industry

  • The source of over a fifth of Ukraine’s total GHG emissions in 2019, the industry sector has seen decreasing emissions since the mid 2000’s.
  • Despite this decline, illustrative 1.5°C pathways show both energy and process emissions could fall further to 2030, by at least 42% and 38% below 2017 levels respectively (92% and 73% below 1990 levels respectively).
  • Ukraine’s carbon tax, one of the lowest carbon tax in the world at EUR 0.33/tCO₂, has proven virtually ineffective in reducing emissions since it began in 2011, though an emissions trading scheme is scheduled to commence in 2025.
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Footnotes