Accessibility statement

Natalie Kopytko
PhD Student



Her current research focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation in Ukraine’s agri-food sector. Natalie worked for environmental non-profits and in environmental education prior to returning to academia for a Master’s degree. For her dissertation, she focused on how nuclear power creates barriers to climate change adaptation and how nuclear power operation must adapt to climate change.  She is particularly interested in using an interdisciplinary approach to research the connections between climate change, agriculture, energy and water.


2010-present PhD Environmental Economics and Management Department of Environment and Geography, University of York  
2007-2009 Master of Environmental Studies The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA
1994-1999 BSc Biology Major (Ecology focus), Environmental Toxicology Minor Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Departmental roles


2010-present Demonstrator, Research Skills and Statistical Methods (post-grads)

2011-2012 Tutorial Leader, Maths Help Session (undergrads)

2010 Seminar Leader, Sustainable Societies

2009 Teaching Assistant, Energy Matters, The Evergreen State College

2009 Guest Lecturer, Energy Matters, The Evergreen State College

2009 Guest Lecturer, Masters Programme, The Evergreen State College



Description of PhD

Title:  Climate change in Ukraine's agri-food sector.

Supervisors:  Dr. Charlotte Burns and Professor Piran White

TAC: Dr. Charlotte Burns, Professor Piran White, Professor Mike Ashmore, Professor Neil Carter

Description of thesis: 

This project focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation in Ukraine’s agri-food sector.  Adaptation entails adjusting to a change in climate conditions, while mitigation involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  While defined and considered to be two separate responses to climate change, in reality adaptation and mitigation are interrelated.  Certain strategies involve tradeoffs between adaptation and mitigation, while others address both adaptation and mitigation.  Several measures in the agri-food sector adapt and mitigate, while also providing additional benefits such as the improvement of rural incomes and improved land management.  Therefore, measures are likely to be adopted for reasons other than climate change and understanding this interplay should help to inform policy.

Ukraine provides an ideal case for this study:

  1. Ukraine is an important agriculture producing country with remarkable unmet potential. For instance, Ukraine has the largest obtainable yield gap according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation.
  2. As one of the least energy efficient economies, Ukraine has tremendous mitigation potential due to lower abatement costs and currently hosts the most Joint Implementation projects of any country in the world. Joint implementation allows developed countries to invest in mitigation projects in host countries under the Kyoto Protocol.
  3. Very few climate change studies have been conducted in post-Soviet countries; and therefore, little is known about climate change vulnerability and barriers in this region of the world.

This study uncovers processes and barriers to building response capacity (to adapt or mitigate) and between capacity and climate change action (adaptation and mitigation), while also providing insight as to how climate change policy can reduce trade-offs and take advantage of synergies in Ukraine.


Full publications list

Kopytko, N. 2015. Uncertain seas, uncertain future for nuclear power. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 3/3/2015

Kopytko, N. 2015. Spineless attacks on nuclear power plants could increase. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 19/2/2015

Kopytko, N. 2014. Change and transition: the climate of Ukraine's agri-food sector. Climate Policy. DOI:10.1080/14693062.2014.979131

Kopytko, N. (2011). A Systems Theory Approach to Understanding the Complexity of  Climate Change. Agroecological Journal (Агроеколопчний Журнал), (Special Issue) Ecological Safety and Sustainable Environmental Management in Agriculture Production Conference, Kyiv, Ukraine 251-254.

Kopytko, N. (2011). The Climate Change Threat to Nuclear Power. New Scientist, 2813:22-23.

Kopytko, N. (2011). Climate Change Could Spell The End For Nuclear Power, Not Vice Versa. The Guardian, 18 March.

Kopytko, N., & J. Perkins (2010).  Climate Change, Nuclear Power, and the Adaptation-Mitigation Dilemma.  Energy Policy, 39(1) 318-333.

Kopytko, N. (2009). Sea Level Rise at Nuclear Power Plants in the United States. Washington GIS Conference.  Bellevue, WA, USA.

Perkins, J., N. Kopytko, and K. Saul (2009). Is There A Role For New Nuclear Power in the US Energy Economy? AESS Conference. Madison, WI, USA.

Cushing, J. B., L. Zeman, N. Kopytko, N. Molnar, A. McIntosh, N. Nadkarni, et al. (2008). Visualizing Tree Crowns for Forest Managers: Informatics Tools Enhance Natural Resource Management, Poster presented at Digital Government 2008 Conference. Montreal, QC, Canada.

Kopytko, Natalie

Contact details

Natalie Kopytko
PhD Student
Department of Environment and Geography
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 324780
Fax: 01904 322998