2021-01-22 13:50:32

Vladimir Kosterin: is people's health a priority of the state?

On January 19, 2021, was held a meeting in the Ecology Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, dedicated to the issue of reducing emissions from large combustion plants. It was about the National Emission Reduction Plan (NECP), which Ukraine, represented by the Ministry of Energy, agreed with our European partners in 2012.

As for the content of the discussion, the word “unrealistic” was very often repeated some employees of the Ministry of Energy, deputies and speakers delegated by energy companies. In their opinion, fulfilling the plan on time is an impossible task. At the same time, the points of view of experts who consider NPSV achievable are discarded. And I support their position that the obligations can be fulfilled, for this there are enough technologies and opportunities to attract financial resources.


Ministerial “unrealistic” – a biased or unprofessional approach

Let me remind you of the classic of military science Clausewitz: strategy is always associated with the choice of such an allocation of resources and decisions that will allow achieving the desired goal. It is necessary to highlight the main thing and not replace them with secondary tasks. In national interests, the main thing should be the health and life expectancy of people, and this is the primary area of responsibility of the state.

For example, it is possible to replace maneuverable coal capacities that create environmental risks – for gas and biogas cogeneration, as well as using storage of atomic energy in industrial and private systems. Including in electric cars and electric buses, when during peak hours they can supply electricity to the network, and when there is an excess of electricity in the network, they can be charged.

If we count the amount of subsidies for the coal industry over the years of Ukraine's Independence, then coal-based energy for Ukrainian consumers is gold. Isn't the income from Rotterdam+ for the five years of Poroshenko's presidency not enough to modernize thermal power plants?

If an enterprise does not have its own money, and it is unable to attract investment and for any other reason refuse to fulfill the NIPV, then the state should nationalize the enterprises and carry out modernization for budget money or attract investors and re-sell these objects.

By the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of March 13, 2018, No.428-r, the Action Plan for 2018 was approved regarding the implementation of the National Plan, according to which 7 points, terms and responsible central executive authorities were determined. In fact, nothing was done and no one was held responsible(!).

Further, the Groisman Cabinet of Ministers in July 2019 (with the participation of the Minister of Energy Nasalik and the Minister of Environment Semerak), in the interests of the owners of the CHP/TPP, postponed the implementation of the NPSV for 2-5 years, which concerned 21 out of 90 installations. This decision did not come out for the period 2028-2032, but it was made in gross violation of the environmental legislation of Ukraine, since the Strategic Environmental Assessment of the project was not carried out. Thus, we have saved the volume of emissions and the burden on human health.

In 2020, representatives of the thermal power industry proposed to once again postpone the modernization of large combustion plants from 2033 to 2038/2043. This became the main point of discrepancy between the participants in the discussion in the Verkhovna Rada Committee (January 19, 2021). The Ministry of Energy justified the postponement on the grounds that “enterprises have no money” instead of defending the interests of the country's citizens.

It should also be borne in mind that the CO2 tax in Ukraine is the lowest in Europe, and if it is brought at least half of the European level, then these money would be enough to modernize all environmentally hazardous enterprises in the country.

Ukraine is a member of the Energy Community and a party to the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU since February 2011, which implies an obligation to adhere to the provisions of the Agreement. Therefore, before hiding behind “unrealistic” and “no money”, the Ministries and specialized committees (ecology and energy) are obliged to provide yesterday a strategy and tactics (plans) for ensuring environmental and energy security of Ukraine.

Let me remind you that many countries have designated 2050 as the deadline for achieving carbon neutrality. This is a question of technological competition, investment attractiveness and global security.

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Adapting to climate change is also a policy issue

The retrograde or biased position of the Ministry of Energy only aggravates the energy crisis and becomes an obstacle to the eco-modernization of Ukraine. The weak position of the Ministry of Ecology looks like an unwillingness to fulfill its main mission. In turn, the ineffective work of law enforcement agencies makes it possible for polluted enterprises to feel impunity.

When the owners of energy companies stop funding deputies, officials, prosecutors, judges and all kinds of lobbyists, then there will be funds for installing filters, cleaning systems, etc.

I will erase the question on social protection business data requires separate consideration, but it should not be an obstacle to sustainable development of Ukraine.

Now 2/3 of the population of Ukraine live in conditions of increased technogenic and environmental risks, which creates a burden on the social budget and reduces the country's income due to the low productivity of people subjected to constant environmental "genocide".

Therefore, it is necessary to remind the authorities of the citizens' right to a safe environment for health and life, guaranteed by the Constitution of Ukraine (Articles 16, 50).