2009-09-14 12:00:00

"Green" advices to presidential candidates

On the eve of the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, the Ukrainian authorities need to consolidate and focus its collective attention on the risks of climate imbalance. Perhaps for many politicians it seems too distant subject, not as severe as the economic crisis or mass diseases, however, the effects of global warming are inevitable, and we must start fighting them. — it’s time to forget an excuse like «we did not know, nobody warnd us» it is too expensive, we must act only in advance.

We can see the position of developed countries in this area from a number of international agreements designed to minimize global risks.

A key document was adopted by the European Union in 2008, the Directive «20-20-20», which states that by 2020 the EU countries agree to produce 20% of energy from renewable sources, save 20% of energy by using energy-efficient technologies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%.

This is not a solution to the whole problem, but a significant contribution to saving the planet.

Fighting global warming has been the most discussed topic in the last two years at the meetings of the G8. As a result, the U.S., Japan, Russia, Canada, Italy, Germany, France and Britain agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions " at least by 50%" till 2050.

I shall note that the Green Party of Ukraine annually addresses the government with a proposal to plan 10% of funds from the next year budget for Ukraine’s transition to a «green» economy and to the eco-tax reform, working on the principle «polluter — pays».

The entire progressive community understands that nowadays economic development should not go against the environmental safety. Economy and ecology should be linked, economically profitable can only that what is environmentally safe.

If the technological infrastructure of the economy is a threat to the environment, it leads to a negative image of the state. Accordingly, only environmentally safe country can be attractive for investments.

Duration and quality of life of every person depends on the environmental situation, regardless of place of residence, religion and social status. In the current conditions environmental security is basis of national and international security.

Taking into account a certain economic backwardness of Ukraine, we must use a moment and implement such «rules of the game» which would allow Ukraine to make a temporary «jump» and become one of the world’s developed countries in ten years.

This is possible with the national strategy, based on the principles of sustainable eco-sound development, that is, the synergy of economic, ecological and social spheres.

In this context, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions should be a priority of the state policy.

Indeed, according to the UN, during the last two decades more than 3.5 billion people suffered from natural disasters, economic damage amounted a total of 1.2 trillion dollars.

As a result of excessive emissions of CO2, the greenhouse effect is now a «bomb» waiting to explode. Humanity has entered a period of planetary «environmental war» and must be active in order to stop the catastrophe.

Despite the fact that climate change, thanks to the scientists, was known in the early 1970s, the intensification and consolidation of efforts at the international level, came only in 90s, resulting in a Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which was the first to establish commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in most of industrialized countries. Preparation for the Copenhagen conference, whose mission is to develop a new framework agreement, lasted for several years. Adoption of new commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate the processes associated with global warming will be main objective of the new protocol.

A conference of the United Nations in 2007, in Indonesia, on the island of Bali, was dedicated to achieve these objectives.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian officials who attended the event, failed to convey the main message of the conference to the leadership of the country.

In Copenhagen, the economic policy will be considered as the main mechanism for fighting climate change. For this purpose there is a thorough theoretical platform, its main directions are: the formation of innovative economic model, transition to the ecological system of taxation, changing priorities of fiscal policy and making all decisions at the national level from the standpoint of «environmental viability."

Thus, a renowned expert on economic development and former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern, calculated in his study that each country should provide at least 1% of the GDP in order to stop climate catastrophe, comparable in scale with the consequences of two World Wars and the Great Depression in first half of the twentieth century.

According to Stern, the costs of the transition to innovative technologies will be significantly lower than the costs of non-guaranteed survival in the conditions of progressive global warming.

In this vein, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) has developed a special report on the formation of eco-social market economy model.

Experts identified that to advance the global course towards the «green» economy, programmes with a total value of at least $ 750 billion will be needed, which equals only 1% of global GDP.

According to UNEP, the governments of all countries should develop five areas:

1) Eco-friendly transport;

2) Ecological engineering;

3) Introduction of technologies using renewable energy sources and energy efficiency;

4) Development of land, water and forest resources management systems;

5) Development of organic agriculture.

This approach reflects the official position of the United Nations. According to the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, the «green» economy is solution of environmental and economic issues at the global, national and local level.

Ban Ki-moon, together with Al Gore, called on leaders of all countries to the green revolution. For Ukraine, this appeal should be an economic imperative, as many countries are already implementing it.

In 2009, South Korea announced a new «green» policy. Investments in amount of billions of dollars for were announced to be made in next 5 years. According to the new course, the development of «green» technologies must be accompanied with job creation.

In early 2009, the U. S. Congress, at the initiative of President Barack Obama gave billions to develop «green» economy. It is important that these funds are diversified. 8 billion of these, are used to finance alternative energy projects, 9 billion to finance energy efficiency, billion for the development of eco-friendly transport.

In the next 2 years, these measures will help to create 3.5 million jobs in the country. Every dollar invested in the development of renewable energy will provide a fourfold return on investment in the future.

China has set the goal to increase the share of energy produced from renewable sources to 15% in the next decade. In order to overcome the dependence on import of energy, in May 2009, Chinese authorities announced that they intend to allocate 3 billion for new 10-year program for the development of alternative energy sources. Special focus to be made on solar energy and wind energy.

Though Japan is extremely dependent on energy imports, even before the crisis, country successfully developed two major public projects that have received public funding — «Sunshine» and «Moonlight." «Sunshine» joined research and development efforts aimed at the development of alternative energy sources. «Moonlight» united activities focused on energy conservation.

The list of countries that have started active ecologization of economy, includes the EU, Brazil, India, New Zealand, Australia, etc.

In the world the «green course» has many directions and the most important is fighting climate change. Green economic reforms are the result of appropriate political will.

Maybe Ukraine will be more fortunate than the Maldives, as they can be floaded if the sea level rises, because of melting glaciers, and will disappear from face of the earth. But even without such extremes there will be enough threats to national security, in case of which all artificial political scandals and topics, as problem of language, NATO, etc., will lose their significance.

The advantage of an ecological approach in the public policy is expressed in cost savings, efficient use of resources and ensuring all aspects of national security. For example, the real increase in the share of renewable resources in the energy supply system of Ukraine and the introduction of energy efficient technologies in production will strengthen the national economy, provide investment attractiveness and increase its competitiveness through the creation of new jobs, lower production costs, «saving» currency inside the country and a reasonable use of public funds.

After all, we must invest in domestic production and support small and medium-sized businesses, and not provide monopolist companies from other countries with jobs and money.

So we can get a cumulative effect: 1. improvement of the environment, 2. social stability, 3. «revival» of scientific innovations sector, 4. dynamic development of the economy.

Green Revolution is the transition to country’s modernization and effective national security. Therefore the environmental issues should be subject to concrete actions and constant review at meetings of National Security Council, the Government, the Verkhovna Rada and local councils.

I hope that Ukraine, as a country that suffered the Chernobyl tragedy, will take on a mission to do everything possible for planet Earth and particularly Ukraine to be ecologically freindly and safe. UN conference in Copenhagen and Kyiv International Environmental Forum are good opportunities to improve competence in this matter.

P. S. The presidential campaign is in full swing, but so far none of the candidates showed enough attention to the issues of environmental security and sustainable development. I hope that till January someone of the candidates will prepare realistic action program to minimize environmental risks…

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