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The First Consequences Of The War For Climate Diplomacy

Another question we need to start asking ourselves is: What will the consequences of war on climate diplomacy be? The multilateral fight against climate change is based on cooperation between different people (and often between enemies), on the creation of a space for dialogue between countries and blocs independent of geopolitical tensions on borders, resources and trade.

This war broke out four months after COP26 and eight months before the next conference, COP27 to be held in Egypt. The dialogue between the blocks for a coordinated reduction of greenhouse gas emissions was already in crisis after the climate conference in Glasgow, now it seems to have evaporated, completely off the table. What dialogue can be conducted in such a context?

Meanwhile, on March 5, the Ukrainian Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources officially called for the exclusion of Russia from fourteen international treaties and conventions on the environment, from that against the ozone hole to that against desertification.

Of all the requests for exclusion, the one that has caused the most sensation is that of a Russian expulsion from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN convention against climate change. It would mean Russia’s exit from the Paris agreement, an event that would have devastating consequences and chain reactions.

The reasons for Ukraine are understandable. In the document they write that Russia, after the aggression of February 24, no longer has the credibility to be part of any international agreement: they mention the fighting in the exclusion zone of Chernobyl and the capture of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which have “put at risk the environmental safety of humanity”. Moreover, “by carrying out a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the occupier has violated international law, human rights, nuclear security, and global peace”.

It is unlikely that Russia will be expelled from the UN Convention on Climate Change, and lifted by the obligations of the Paris Agreement. The request is, anyway, a sign of how cooperation between the parties risks becoming a mirage.

The Umbrella negotiation block, which includes non-EU developed countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Ukraine and the US), has already expelled Russia and Belarus. These weeks of war will have long-term consequences on the fragile geography of the negotiations, which in recent years had been structured with at least a context of relative peace among the most important countries. New resources will be needed for a new scenario: the world of COP27 will be very different from that told in Glasgow.

It must be said that Russia’s contribution to the fight against global warming was already poor before the war, according to the analysis platform Climate Action Tracker. Putin’s goal is climate neutrality to 2060, with an 80 percent reduction in emissions to 2050, but there is no alignment between targets and policies, so these are just targets on paper.

At COP26 in Glasgow, Russia was one of the countries most active in obstructing ambitious resolutions and was also kept out of the agreements made on the sidelines of the main negotiations, such as the one on the zeroing of deforestation in 2030 or the Global Methane Pledge on the reduction of methane emissions. On the other hand, things would not be better if Russia were thrown out of the negotiations, not only because it is now the fourth country in the world for total greenhouse gas emissions, but also because other countries may be pushed by Russia to follow its example.

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Tags: #Russia #COP26 #Ukraine #warinUkraine #energydilemma #energysources


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