• 11 July 2023

Spotlight on Ukraine at ECCA2023

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It was humbling, frightening and inspiring in equal measure to welcome a strong delegation from Ukraine to the conference. 

The war-torn country’s scientific and policy speakers set out the sobering impact of the illegal invasion by Russia in terms of the human cost and the legacy of financial impacts, disrupted supplies of food, energy and water, desperate living conditions and infrastructure reduced to rubble. Little of it can be cleared away because bulldozers and diggers are among the equipment damaged beyond repair or in short supply. 

The war has highlighted the importance of resilient energy systems amid climate conditions and socio-economic changes. The transition to a clean and resilient energy system is, however, costly and time-consuming, with interlinked socio-economic implications. 

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, addressed the opening day’s plenary audience with passion, setting out the Ukraine Government’s commitment to a post-peace recovery, dedicated to building back better and greener. 

She said after her speech received a standing ovation: “This conference is very important for the whole world and especially for Ukraine because consequences of the war on Ukraine’s ecosystem are huge, so we want to draw attention of the global community to our problem. This is not only a Ukrainian problem. It is a global problem because of the consequences of the war for the whole planet. We are looking for support in fighting these consequences.” 

Ukraine’s leading climate scientist, Svitlana Krakovska, added: “We should not consider any recovery without adaptation to climate change. From one point of view it’s a disaster but [the recovery] is also an opportunity to rebuild better and greener.” 

Svitlana and other members of the Ukraine delegation hosted two sessions later on Tuesday. They encouraged Irish industries to work with them for recovery, collaborating on expertise and technology services for renewable energy. In turn Ukraine can, for example, offer its extensive coastline to exploit wind and solar renewable energy. She concluded the first session by saying: “We all want to win this war and to win [against] climate change, let’s do it together. Remember that you can make change happen for Ukraine and for the world, please help us.” 

The second session showcased case studies from Ukraine, highlighting pre-invasion initiatives such as E-Mobility Hubs that not only provide shared-use cycles, e-scooters and tram stops but also a post office, a café and free charging points for citizen’s own e-scooters. Another case study showed how the war had destroyed infrastructure services with the Kakhovka dam blasted, power and recycling plants bombed and rubbish trucks and bins destroyed. The crop sowing area was reduced by 25% in 2022 and 8m people – 20% of the population – left Ukraine for Europe.  

Dr Oleksandr Diachuk told the audience: “We don’t know when the war will end but we will be ready to rebuild, and rebuild to better principles including energy strategies, to reach Net Zero by 2050, reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling by two thirds and fully decarbonise our building stock.” 

 

Read more about Ukrainian’s leading climate scientist to address conference in Dublin Castle 

Watch the ECCA2023 speech of the Ukraine’s Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko here.    

 

Authors: Sally Stevens and Joske Houtkamp

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