*[Enwl-eng] CAN EECCA Newsletter: War makes heat wave deadlier, Problem of Karaganda coal basin, COP28 Presidency

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May 23, 2023, 11:22:04 AMMay 23
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Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia

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Climate chronicle of the war   

Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Making the Heat Wave in Asia Even Deadlier

A study by Energymonitor.ai last year found Asia has invested at least $490 billion in new gas infrastructure, led by Vietnam and China. The continent is the largest exporter and importer of LNG. Because of its relatively lower emissions compared to coal or oil, the gas is considered a “bridge fuel,” lowering the dependence on traditional fossil fuels like coal and oil. But the Russia-Ukraine conflict has upended the LNG market. Europe was in desperate need of energy as winter approached but struggled to secure a necessary alternative even as it cut off piped gas from Russia. Despite lacking sufficient infrastructure, Europe started to dip into the LNG supply that would have gone to Asia, raising the demand and causing prices to jump nearly 10 times the average.

 Ukraine Is Planning Its Green Reconstruction Even as War Rages On

Ukrainian activists, scientists and architects are pushing for a postwar recovery unlike any in history, with a focus on climate resilience and clean energy. Thinking about rebuilding in the middle of a war, with a new offensive against Russia in the works, might seem far-fetched. But for Ukraine, green reconstruction is not just good for the planet. It’s essential to the country’s economic recovery and national security. Russian attacks caused damages worth $8.1 billion in Ukraine’s energy sector during the first year of war, the Kyiv School of Economics estimates. The average Ukrainian household endured 35 days without power last winter. 

Russia’s War in Ukraine: Green Policies in a New Energy Geopolitics

Russia’s brutal aggression has wreaked devastation in Ukraine for more than a year. It has also forced a fundamental rethink of geopolitics. Central to that new thinking is the role of energy security and how to manage the insecurities created by the lopsided dependencies exposed by the conflict. For decades, energy security was perceived as a matter of physical, temporal, and geographic realities. It was about not only where fossil fuel resources were located but also how oil and gas coursed through pipelines, or was shipped on tankers, across borders and into markets. 

G7 agrees to short-term gas investments amidst Russia-Ukraine war

The G7 leaders on Saturday agreed to stronger language on short-term gas investments in the context of Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis. "We stress the important role that increased deliveries of LNG can play, and acknowledge that investment in the sector can be appropriate in response to the current crisis and to address potential gas market shortfalls provoked by the crisis," reads the text. The text makes clear these investments must be limited to "the exceptional circumstance" given the Russian-driven energy shock and "as a temporary response."

Ukrainians will be able to monitor the radiation background of the Zaporizhia NPP online

Ukrainians will be able to monitor the radiation background level at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar online on the Saveecobot platform. Measurements of the radiation background are carried out every day directly on the industrial site of the station, reports the public organization SaveDnipro on Facebook. So, as of May 17 at 3:30 p.m., the radiation background level was 90 nSv/h with a permissible value of 300 nSv/h. The Saveecobot map is available at the link.

Ukraine found an unlikely tool to resist Russia: Solar panels

Russian airstrikes on Ukraine’s power grid plunged many parts of the country into darkness last fall, but one water company was able to keep its pumps going. Its field of solar panels, installed as an environmentally friendly measure before the war, turned into a tool to resist the Kremlin’s attacks. Now a growing number of Ukrainian hospitals, schools, police stations and other critical buildings are racing to install solar power ahead of what many expect will be another hard winter later this year.

Regional and world news

Karaganda coal basin is swallowing Kazakhstan’s climate

The Karaganda coal basin, located in Kazakhstan, is one of the world’s largest coal basins, with coal reserves ranking third in the EECCA region. Unfortunately, the coal mining operations in the region have led to devastating environmental and social impacts, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and land degradation. These issues have caused health problems and displacement of local communities. To raise awareness about the situation, CAN EECCA has released a new short film titled “Karaganda Coal Basin is Swallowing Kazakhstan’s Climate” as part of our #WorldWeWant campaign. The film features interviews with residents and activists who speak out against the harmful effects of coal mining and advocate for a transition to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Trick the Climate. Where will Kazakhstan’s new low-carbon strategy lead?

CAN EECCA and Ecostan News share their reaction to the adopted strategy and updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Kazakhstan. We also present some remarks voiced by Kazakhstani eco-activists that were not taken into account by the developers. On February 2, 2023, President Tokayev approved the country’s low-carbon development strategy. Its official title is “Strategy for Achieving Carbon Neutrality of the Republic of Kazakhstan by 2060.” The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources initially developed the strategy, followed by the Ministry of National Economy of Kazakhstan. The draft strategy went through several rounds of public discussion; however, the public’s comments were not significantly considered.

Greenpeace International has been declared undesirable in Russia

Greenpeace International has been declared undesirable in Russia, a decision that makes us wonder what is really undesirable. Protecting nature or harming it and human health through pollution, deforestation and ignoring the climate crisis? "We believe that Greenpeace International's declaration as an undesirable organization is due to the fact that through our work we have tried, in stopping environmentally destructive plans. Every time we have spoken out against such plans, we have had to overcome fierce opposition from those who want to turn nature into a source of income, who do not want to think about the future of our country, and who accuse us of acting against Russia's interests," Greenpeace said in its statement. 

Managing disaster risks and water under climate change in Central Asia and Caucasus

Climate change is expected to have profound impacts on water resources and natural hazards in Central Asia and South Caucasus. This has serious implications for the management of water resources and natural hazards in both regions. This publication is the result of a joint learning journey involving three thematic networks of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – Climate Change and Environment, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Water – and interested SDC offices and partners. The basic idea was to create the opportunity for participants to address common challenges in a collaborative manner while focusing on a specific region or context.

Global warming set to break key 1.5C limit for first time

Our overheating world is likely to break a key temperature limit for the first time over the next few years, scientists predict. Researchers say there's now a 66% chance we will pass the 1.5C global warming threshold between now and 2027. The chances are rising due to emissions from human activities and a likely El Niño weather pattern later this year. If the world passes the limit, scientists stress the breach, while worrying, will likely be temporary. Hitting the threshold would mean the world is 1.5C warmer than it was during the second half of the 19th Century, before fossil fuel emissions from industrialisation really began to ramp up.

World’s largest lakes are shrinking: Scientists say global warming and overuse of water are to blame

Satellites were used to track how lakes around the world, from the Caspian Sea to the Great Salt Lake, have changed over the last three decades. More than half of the world's largest lakes and reservoirs are drying up, a new study has found. Climate change's hotter temperatures and society's diversion of water have been shrinking the world's lakes by trillions of litres of water a year since the early 1990s. A close examination of nearly 2,000 of the world's largest lakes found they are losing about 21.5 trillion litres a year. 

Fossil fuel boss picked as President of the COP28

In January, the UAE confirmed that Sultan Al Jaber had been appointed as the president of COP28. Jaber is the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). the biggest oil producer in the country and the 12th biggest in the world. His appointment hasn’t come without controversy. Climate leaders and campaigners have voiced a number of concerns calling it a “blatant conflict of interest”. “You wouldn’t invite arms dealers to lead peace talks. So why let oil executives lead climate talks?” Alice Harrison, fossil fuel campaign leader at Global Witness, said at the time. Al Jaber says he is approaching COP28 with a “strong sense of responsibility and the highest possible level of ambition.”

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