Two dozen Ukrainian officials in attendance at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheihk, Egypt, are making the case that the Russian invasion of their country is resulting in a humanitarian as well as an environmental crisis.
“This is not simply a war, this is state terrorism and it is ecocide,” Svitlana Grynchuk, Ukraine’s assistant environment minister said. “The invasion has killed wildlife, generated pollution and caused social instability. The terrorist state continues to send missiles to our power plants. Our environment is under threat because of this terrorist attack.”
War causes emissions, as does its aftermath. Ukraine estimates that rebuilding its shattered towns, cities and industry will cause nearly 50m tonnes of carbon dioxide to be emitted. “Military emissions in peacetime and times of war are relevant, they are material,” said Axel Michaelowa, a climate economist who has studied wartime pollution. “The emissions are comparable to that of entire countries.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addressed world leaders and COP delegates Tuesday via video and said that “there can be no effective climate policy without the peace”.
“It’s difficult to talk about a green transition now when people don’t have anything to heat themselves and winter is coming,” Svitlana Krakovska, Ukraine’s leading climate scientist told the Guardian at COP27. “We will just try to do our best to survive. But we all need to all realize our dependency on fossil fuels, we need to think about energy independence, not just from Russia but from fossil fuels. The most reliable energy source is the sun and we need to use it.”
COP27 WHAT TO WATCH: WEEK TWO
– The real work begins as delegates hammer out the details and ministers arrive to help navigate deadlocks.
– Brazil’s new leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva arrives.
– Egypt works on the overarching document which will define the conference and lay out the actions countries have agreed on to meet their climate pledges.
– More traction for loss and damage as US Climate Envoy John Kerry says the United States is “!00% ready” for a detailed discussion.