Climate scientist Svitlana Krakovska and her colleagues are sheltering from bombs in Kyiv but still trying to work on the upcoming IPCC report. One has to admire their dedication, given the situation. Madeleine Cuff explains in an article on the inews website.
‘We still exist and resist’: Ukrainian climate scientists to press on with climate work despite the risks
Ukrainian climate scientists will try to take part in global talks to produce the next major climate change report even while they shelter from missile attacks and prepare to fight for their country.
Dr Svitlana Krakovska, a climate scientist and head of the Ukrainian delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has remained in Kyiv despite the Russian bombardment of the city.
“Climate change does not stop,” she said. “Everyone needs to deal with it.”
She told i her colleagues will try to participate in talks later this month for the next IPCC report which will focus on how to stop climate change.
Scientists from around the world must come together to agree on a “summary for policymakers” outlining the scientific consensus on the topic before the report’s release on 4 April.
The 11-strong delegation was forced to abandon talks for a similar summary on climate adaptation last month because of the Russian invasion. “It’s very difficult to think about climate change impacts when you have impacts of Russian missiles in our Kyiv,” Dr Krakovska said at the time.
At least half the Ukrainian delegation have now fled the country and others are protecting their towns and villages in the Territorial Defence Forces, Dr Krakovska told i.
“As the head of the delegation I am working the phones and asking people whether it will be possible for them to work,” she said. “Of course, it’s not easy… But at least for now we have the intention to participate.”
Continuing work on climate science represents a chance to work for a better future for Ukraine, she said.
“We still exist and resist, and we are thinking about our future,” she said. “And we understand that we will need to rebuild our country, we want to rebuild it on a climate-resilient pathway. So for this, we need our experts to be able to work on it, and for this, we need to be able to participate in the IPCC session.”
Dr Krakovska herself has remained in Kyiv since the start of the invasion with her children and extended family. Life in the city is uncertain, she admitted, with frequent air raid sirens sounding as Russian troops march ever closer.
“We are thinking about the future, but we don’t know what will happen within one hour,” Dr Krakovska said.
Dr Krakovska has previously described the conflict in her country as a “fossil fuel war” funded by the sale of Russian oil and gas to the West.
Accelerating the global shift to clean energy would break Putin’s grip on global energy markets, bringing peace and prosperity to Ukraine and beyond, Dr Krakovska insisted.
“The selling of oil and gas by Russia to other countries is enabling the conditions for this war against Ukraine,” she argued.
“If no one buys the oil and gas [from Russia] then we will have this transformation to cleaner energy and this independence from fossil fuels – it will help everybody on this planet.”