Russia's war on Ukraine must end soon so world can focus on fight against global warming – Kenny MacAskill MP

The COP26 climate summit now seems eons ago. It never produced much but what little it did seems to have long since dissipated.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has overshadowed international efforts to tackle climate change (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has overshadowed international efforts to tackle climate change (Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Instead, a cost-of-living crisis and war in Europe have overshadowed it. Yet, the issue hasn’t gone away, instead it’s worsening and our societies aren’t ready to deal with what’s coming down the road.

Just a few weeks ago, parts of India suffered a heatwave. Temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius saw people struggling to cope in cities such as New Delhi.

Such is life in the sub-continent that work continues even in those circumstances. But it was too much for many as they swooned and collapsed in the heat.

Some tried and failed. Others didn’t bother or couldn’t even try and no doubt went hungry. No work means no income, and yet in India and Pakistan a billion people are now at risk.

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Meanwhile in Houston, Texas there was a similar, if lower, temperature surge that hit the mid-30s. It was enough though to put pressure on the power supply system as air-conditioning systems were switched on or up across the state.

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The Glasgow climate jamboree was supposed to provide solutions to save our planet. Instead, we’re not even taking actions to adjust our societies to the changes that are coming our way, and which are truly frightening.

The rush to war contrasts shamefully with the need to address climate change. Putin started this conflict but for the sake of humanity we need to try and end it and fast.

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A tank gets some two to four miles to the gallon. Aviation and missiles spew toxins and greenhouse gases, as much as death and destruction. The USA military’s carbon footprint is greater than 140 countries, and it still applies even if it’s Ukrainians that are doing the fighting. The war’s legacy won’t just be shell-pocked fields and shattered buildings in Ukraine but further damage to our atmosphere.

It’s why peace is needed and quick. It’s equally why resources for war and sympathy rightly shown to Ukrainian refugees need matched by efforts on climate change and solidarity with the climate refugees who’ll be coming all too soon.

Kenny MacAskill is Alba Party MP for East Lothian

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