The war in Ukraine is taking a huge toll on the environment apart from lives and infrastructure. A new report by climate experts estimates that the war’s first two years generate greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

These emissions, the report warns, could lead to extreme weather events around the world, causing an estimated $32 billion in damages.

Climate Costs Added to Reparations Claim

Ukraine intends to include these climate-related costs in its compensation claim against Russia. “This will be an essential part of the reparations case we are building,” stated Ukraine’s Minister of Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, Ruslan Strilets.

The report, compiled by the Initiative on Greenhouse Gas Accounting of War, identifies reconstruction as the biggest source of emissions, followed by emissions directly related to warfare and changes in air travel routes.

Uncertainties and Challenges

The report acknowledges limitations due to the lack of official data. Researchers relied on open-source information and estimates from previous conflicts. Additionally, quantifying the long-term consequences of these emissions is a complex task.

Money for Mitigation and Adaptation

Lennard de Klerk, founder of the Initiative, suggests using any potential compensation funds for various purposes. Some funds could be directed towards Ukraine’s forest restoration efforts to help offset carbon emissions. Another portion could be channeled to nations disproportionately affected by climate change, potentially through the Green Climate Fund.

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