Ukraine has used the Cop27 climate talks to make the case that Russia’s invasion is causing an environmental as well as humanitarian catastrophe, with fossil fuels a key catalyst of the country’s destruction.
Ukraine has dispatched two dozen officials to the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to spell out the links between the war launched by Russia in February, the soaring cost of energy due to Russia’s status as a key gas supplier, and the planet-heating emissions expelled by the offensive.
Heavy shelling and the movement of troops and tanks has polluted the air, water and land, said Svitlana Grynchuk, Ukraine’s assistant environment minister, as well as killing thousands of people and decimating the country’s economy. A fifth of Ukraine’s protected areas have been ruined by the war, she added, with the contamination of previously fertile soils alone costing €11.4bn (£10bn) in damages.
“This is not simply a war, this is state terrorism and it is ecocide,” Grynchuk 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.” [Continue reading…]