Home Climate justice Ukrainian scientists forced to step down ahead of ‘grimest’ climate report

Ukrainian scientists forced to step down ahead of ‘grimest’ climate report

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As Russian military forces continued their invasion of Ukraine with an attack on the capital, Kyiv, and other cities, leading Ukrainian climate experts withdrew from an international scientific committee – just as the group was finalizing its endorsement of the landmark climate change report late Saturday. .

Leading climate experts from around the world have spent two weeks evaluating the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) survey, outlining how accelerating human-induced climate change is affecting societies and natural ecosystems around the world. The report, including recommendations to governments, will be released on Monday.

It is the second part of a global climate assessment published every five to seven years, and it will offer strategies for adapting to current and future warming, sea level rise and ocean acidification, as well as extreme weather events.

“We have delegates from other cities, not just Kiev, and they were forced to go to shelters,” said climatologist Svitlana Krakovska, head of the Ukrainian delegation. “But the most important thing is that it is very difficult to think about the impacts of climate change when you have Russian missile impacts in our Kiev and tanks everywhere.”

However, she hopes that what is known as the IPCC Working Group 2 report will get the coverage and attention it deserves.

This will likely be the starkest warning yet about the impacts of climate change on people and the planet – including the impacts that are unavoidable due to current levels of carbon emissions and rising temperatures. resulting. It will also assess readiness as part of “adaptive” measures, such as the ability to withstand extreme weather conditions.

It is released on Monday, following the Cop26 summit which agreed to step up action to try to limit global warming to 1½ degrees to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

barely alive

The outcome of the UN talks in Glasgow was described as maintaining the temperature target “but only with a weak pulse”, by conference chairman Alok Sharma. Since then, soaring prices for fossil fuels – especially natural gas in Europe – have undermined global momentum.

A draft leaked last year warned of the risk of crossing dangerous thresholds or “tipping points”, where things such as the melting of ice caps or permafrost, or the transformation of rainforests into grasslands , become irreversible, with enormous consequences.

Children bathe next to a destroyed house in Haulover, about 41 km south of Bilwi, in the autonomous region of the Northern Caribbean, in Nicaragua, days after Hurricane Iota hit. Photo: Inti Ocon/AFP via Getty

It will present the effects of rising temperatures, which have already reached 1.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels, such as droughts, floods, storms and the effects on health, agriculture and cities – as well cascading and irreversible impacts.

Particular emphasis will be placed on the different regions of the world, as well as on vulnerable populations and communities, migration and displacement.

Ahead of its release, Mark Watts, executive director of the group of mayors C40 Cities taking action on climate change, warned that the latest report was likely to “paint a gloomy picture” of major cities from London to Lima.

“City residents are already on the front lines of growing vulnerability to climate impacts such as deadly floods, rising sea levels, wildfires, extreme storms and unbearable urban heat. clear that we are now in the climate crisis, we are not waiting for it. We can still overcome climate degradation and build a prosperous future, but urban adaptation efforts must go beyond this new climate reality,” he said. he adds.

Poorest communities

Rich countries have sought to downplay language about “loss and damage”, according to Christian Aid. Loss and damage funding is a much-needed source of financial support to help poorer communities cope with the devastating climate impacts caused primarily by emissions from the global north.

Christian Aid’s climate justice adviser, Nushrat Chowdhury, said: “We made real progress at the COP26 climate summit, putting loss and damage on the global agenda. Rich countries have refused to set up a fund to deal with these impacts, but that left us close to a breakthrough at Cop27 in Egypt later this year.

However, it seems that rich countries are now trying to undermine this progress by attacking the reality of loss and damage through the IPCC process, led by countries that claim to be climate leaders, such as the United States and the Kingdom. United, she said.

“It is shameful to see them brag about their climate achievements in public, but behind closed doors they are doing everything they can to prevent aid from reaching the most vulnerable,” Ms Chowdhury added.