The Ukrainian head of delegation to this week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change meeting told the closing session her country would not stand down in the face of Vladimir Putin’s aggression, and urged her international colleagues not to surrender to the climate crisis. Her Russian counterpart then apologized for the invasion, Agence France-Presse and POLITICO Europe report.
“We will not surrender in Ukraine, and we hope the world will not surrender in building a climate resilient future,” meteorologist Svitlana Krakovska said Sunday morning. “Human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have the same roots—fossil fuels—and our dependence on them.”
- Concise headlines. Original content. Timely news and views from a select group of opinion leaders. Special extras.
- Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
- The Weekender: The climate news you need.
“First of all, let me thank Ukraine and present an apology on behalf of all Russians who were not able to prevent this conflict,” replied Russian head of delegation Oleg Anisimov. “All of those who know what is happening fail to find any justification for this attack against Ukraine.”
The meeting took place in private, but veteran climate reporter Karl Mathiesen says the language “was shared with POLITICO via a translated transcription” and confirmed by another participant.
“The Ukrainian delegation was forced to quit the meeting on Thursday after Russian troops invaded the country,” with Krakovska “telling POLITICO her colleagues had to seek refuge in bomb shelters,” Mathiesen writes. “It was later reported that she returned to the meeting for the final session.”
POLITICO says Anisimov applauded the Ukrainian delegation’s efforts to take part in the meeting for as long as it could. “Since we are dealing with scientific issues, we have huge admiration for the Ukrainian delegation that was able to still do its work,” he reportedly said.
“The Ukrainian delegation spoke this morning at the final closing. I will not repeat what she said because I think I would become much too emotional trying,” IPCC author Daniela Schmidt told media. The delegates “asked all of us to continue and has expressed how upset they are that this will distract from the importance of our efforts. The Russian delegation has expressed very clearly that this is not the wish of all the Russian people and the Russian people were not asked.”
Russian scientists and science journalists also spoke up in an open letter on the independent TRV-science website.
“There is no rational justification for this war,” they wrote. “Obviously, Ukraine poses no threat to the security of Russia. The attempts to use the situation in Donbass as a pretext for launching a military operation are totally contrived. The war against Ukraine is unjust and frankly nonsense.”
The scientists added: “Ukraine has been and remains a country close to us. Many of us have relatives, friends, and colleagues living in Ukraine. Our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers fought together against Nazism, and unleashing a war for the sake of the geopolitical ambitions of the leadership of the Russian Federation, driven by dubious historiosophical fantasies, is a cynical betrayal of their memory.”