In this Position, we cover what the actions of the countries that really intending to prevent a climate crisis should be, and which mechanisms should be launched on a first-priority basis.
We call on the EECCA countries to implement ambitious national climate policies to achieve climate neutrality in 2050.
- We welcome the fact that many countries in the region (namely Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Tajikistan) have submitted their updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the UNFCCC. However, almost every one of those NDCs implies escalation of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, which should occur under no circumstances if the countries really mean to implement the Paris Agreement. All the subsequent updated NDCs should only set goals of decreasing greenhouse gas emissions compared to the 2019 levels.
- The Network also supports the leadership of Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia and Kyrgyzstan in the pursuit of climate neutrality. We must remind that, within the framework of the Green Deal, the EU intends to promote the climate neutrality for the whole European continent by 2050. We call upon the governments of the EECCA countries to commit themselves to achieving climate neutrality by 2050.
- Representation of the EECCA countries in the UN international climate negotiations is often disproportionate. We believe that active participation of experts from our countries in the international processes is a necessity for strengthening partnerships, sharing experiences and capacity building for implementing the best practices at national level. We urge the EECCA governments to thoroughly prepare their delegates for participating in COP and seek advice from international partners and NGOs. We also urge international organisations to support the participation of experts from the EECCA countries in COP26, and to involve their delegates in organizing joint events at the Conference.
- Fossil fuels are still in the EECCA countries’ climate plans. To achieve climate neutrality, it is crucial to stop the geological exploration and developing of new deposits of fossil fuels (namely coal, oil and gas), and minimise their use by 2030. We urge the EECCA countries to officially announce the date of moving away from coal, oil, and gas.
- Our Network is of the persuasion that nuclear energy is deadly and extremely expensive, and fails to resolve the problems with the climate crisis. A technology capable of eliminating nuclear waste does not exist. We urge that the Central Asian countries should remain a nuclear power plant-free zone, and that the countries already using nuclear power plants plan phasing out the exiting power units.
We encourage the EECCA countries to use financial mechanisms in regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
- In order for the gas emissions reduction goals to be recognized and monitored both nationally and internationally, every EECCA country must have a functioning greenhouse gas monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system in place.
- The only country in the region that does charge a carbon tax (around EUR 0.35 per tonne of CO2) is Ukraine. We urge every EECCA country to introduce a CO2 emission tax of at least EUR 5 per tonne.
- Despite all the ambitious statements about climate neutrality and green economy, the EECCA countries still subsidise their fossil fuel industries (in stark contrast to the producers of renewable energy who don’t get such funding). The taxpayers’ money is annually spent on supporting the industries that endanger the well-being of the citizens. The EECCA countries should stop subsidising the dirty fossil fuels industry, investing instead in the development of affordable decentralized renewable energy.
- Some of the EECCA countries are very vulnerable to climate crisis and will not be able to cope with their losses and damages without external funding. COP26 should provide the vulnerable EECCA countries with additional funding so they could cover losses and damages resulting from climate disasters.
- Effective allocation and use of any climate finance require improving the local governments’ procurement skills, as well as involving the general public and specifically the vulnerable social groups at an early stage. We urge the EECCA countries, as well as international climate funds, to maximise their work with the general public at the local communities in terms of climate finance projects, in order to achieve more equitable, systematic and effective results.
We urge the EECCA countries to implement the climate policies, being fair towards the people, and hold meaningful public consultation.
- Climate change is a social issue. The impacts of the climate crisis are exacerbating the pre-existing unfair social conditions. We urge the EECCA countries, while implementing any climate and energy policies, to consider their impact on vulnerable social groups and to prioritise projects in more vulnerable communities.
- Without adequate preparation, phasing out fossil fuels can leave entire cities unemployed, with disastrous social consequences. We urge the EECCA countries to carry out a just transition, taking into consideration the opinions and well-being of local residents and providing them with alternative economic opportunities.
- As of today, the general public’s involvement in developing and updating the NDCs in the EECCA countries is insufficient. We urge the governments of the EECCA countries, along with the international organisations providing assistance in developing the climate policies of our countries, to use effective mechanisms to engage the general public to the cause, taking their comments and experiences into consideration.
- Regrettably, the strategies drafted on the national level tend to be implemented poorly at the local level. This hinders public access to planned improvements, new technologies, and the opportunity to be heard. Climate strategies and energy systems transformation can’t be implemented effectively unless the general public and the local authorities are consulted and involved since the initial stages of creating the local roadmaps, as well as vest with enough authority to implement them.
We, the Climate Action Network in the Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia region, will continue to monitor our countries’ climate policy implementation, from local to international level. The COP26 will be an excellent opportunity for building a dialogue between delegations from different countries, international organisations and general public. We kindly hope that this Position will serve as a good reference point for both the governments of the EECCA countries and our international colleagues eager to learn more about priorities in the work in our region.