Low-Carbon Transport Policies for Ukraine


Ukraine’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emission from transport saw a strong decline in the 1990 and have been slightly increasing since the year 2000. While the economic contraction was largely responsible for past emission decreases, Ukraine needs a set of policies to actively steer the transport sector towards a low-carbon future. Despite economic challenges, we argue that Ukraine is in a good position to further decrease transport emissions and to reach its long-term climate goals. Ukrainian policymakers should focus on developing an integrated strategy that connects road, rail, and aviation. Especially the transport sector deserves holistic thinking: while different levels of governance and governments have to coordinate vertically, the decarbonization of the transport sector mustbe thought together horizontally with the decarbonisation of other sectors. Without a low-carbon electricity sector, many policies for the transport sector will fail.

Although Ukraine can build on an already good efficiency level of new cars and trucks, it should think about introducing its own CO2 emission targets for vehicles. Crucially, policies aiming to upgrade the old and inefficient stock of cars and trucks should be introduced. In the context of a sustainable development, Ukraine’s low rate of motorisation should be seen as an asset rather than a deficiency, helping to avoid building a car-centred mobility system. Importantly, Ukrainian policymakers should push for alternative modes of transportation, especially in the cities. Local public transportmust be improved, active modes of transportation, such as walking and cycling, strengthened, and cars more efficiently used. Although emissions from domestic aviation are still small, they have been increasing in recent years. Instead of investing into new air-related infrastructure, investment should be primarily targeted to railway. Railwayhas a key part to play when it comes to decrease emissions from domestic flights, long-haul car travels, and freight transportation.

Crucially, transport policies for Ukraine need to be designed to provide new modes of transportation for citizens and to improve their quality of life. Policies need to be socially just, so they are attainable for citizens and politically feasible. Transport policies must be designed in an integrative way: for instance, pricing of traffic will only be successful when adequate transport alternatives exist for citizens. If done correctly, various transport policies offer possibilities for economic development and will generate several co-benefits, such as lower levels of pollution, traffic, and noise. With the right policies, Ukraine can achieve to further decrease transport emissions and reach its mid-and long-term climate goals. Ukrainian policymakers will in due time need to take decisions towards this direction so that harmful trends,such as an over-reliance on cars, can be avoided from their beginning.

Alexander Roth

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