Claims for insufficiently ambitious emission cut targets by 2020 are often heard at the negotiations. Recently, Saint-Lucia, on behalf of island states, looked into a potential for greenhouse gases emission reduction in comparison with declared commitments. The countries examined include Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Belarus turned out to be able for 22% increase of its 10% cut commitment (i.e. 32% cut in total), Ukraine can increase its commitment to 59%, and Russia to 40%.

However, these estimations have been suspected by a member of Belarusian delegation as being based on the Eurostat data and do not take into account national specifics (high power intensity of the economy, etc). According to the Saint-Lucian experts, Belarus has to cut its emissions for 300 million tons of CO2-equivalent in 2012-2020. According to a Belarusian delegate A. Grebenkov, it is an equivalent of annual cut of 60 billion kilowatt-hours in annual energy consumption in Belarus, while the country consumes 40 billion kW-h a year.

Nevertheless, independent experts believe that the Belarusian emission cut potential should be calculated on the lower GDP growth, and not on 6-7% of the GDP growth used in Grebekov’s estimations. In that case, emission cut targets might grow quite likely. Moreover, Belarus’ low commitments can be associated with wide use of peat in energy sector that unavoidably leads to greenhouse gases emission growth.

At the same time, in November 2010, the National Environmental Center of Ukraine analyzed the research made on the Ukraine’s emission cut potential (http://www.necu.org.ua/wp-content/uploads/ghg-potential_summary_ukr_101122.pdf ) and concluded that (1) the national estimations overestimate the GDP growth level, while underestimate energy efficiency potential  and focus on new coal and nuclear power plants construction, and (2), despite that, almost all national examinations show a larger potential for emission reduction than declared 20% to 2020 from 1990 level. According to the research on  greenhouse gases emission cut potential and costs made by the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA), under business as usual scenario (i.e. no special climate measures), in 2020 Ukrainian emissions will remain on the same level (-54% of 1990 level) as today.

(Below 2c, issue 44, part 2 — translated by Galina Ragouzina)

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