Statement on fossil fuels and war in Ukraine

by | Feb 28, 2022 | Blog, Divestment, Statements | 2 comments

This should be a day of the very important IPCC report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability,” and it still is. The three main messages of the report highlight that 1) even a temporary overshoot of 1.5 degrees Celsius is exceptionally dangerous and would result in irreversible impacts; 2) approaches that deploy unproven technologies are potentially ineffective; and 3) climate responses, including adaptation, must integrate social justice and equity and center Indigenous and local knowledge.

But today is also the fifth day of the war against Ukraine, which has caused devastation in my country and a big shift in global climate priorities. The Russian invasion of Ukraine – a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s integrity and sovereignty – has caused Europe and much of the world to reexamine its energy and climate policies and see how, as Pope Francis wrote in Laudato Si’, “everything is connected.”

Laudato Si’ Movement, above all, prays for peace. This movement strongly condemns the use of violence and urges all parties involved to work urgently towards a rapid diplomatic solution. This is the only way out if we want to preserve peace

This movement unites in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and is deeply concerned for them, especially because they have already been living in a critical condition eight years after the start of the crisis that killed 14,000 people and displaced another 1.5 million.

As a Ukrainian, I am proud to work for an organization that acknowledges that fossil fuels are funding this war and that fossil fuels have been a source of conflict and destruction for decades.

Sadly, this is yet another example of how “everything is connected,” and how a concern for the most vulnerable must be linked to an understanding of the underlying conditions that drive such suffering. 

Do you want to help end this war in my country? A fast and just transition to a clean energy economy is how we all can help. That is exactly what is needed in order to remove the incentive for conflict, to prevent the destruction of creation, and to stop funding this devastating war.

This movement prays for such an outcome, and we have found real hope in the recent actions taken by global leaders and regular citizens, some of whom are realizing their dependence on Russian gas and the fact that Russian fossil fuels are fueling this war of aggression.

In Berlin, there were 500,000 protesters in the streets expressing solidarity against the war and demanding that the German government embargo Russian oil and gas. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has declared the state’s refusal to buy Russian gas, in addition to halting the Nord Stream 2, a 1,200-kilometer pipeline under the Baltic Sea that would have carried gas directly from Russia to Germany.

At last, Europe is awakening to its long-term dependence on Russian gas, and this could create further political shifts that lead to a just and green transition throughout Europe.

But let’s not stop in Europe. Let’s create a just and green transition all over the world, in Argentina, in Mozambique, in the Philippines. Because God’s creation needs our love everywhere, and especially in Ukraine.

Svitlana Romanko
Svitlana Romanko

Environmental lawyer for over twenty years, Svitlana holds a PhD in Environmental, Natural Resources, Land and Agrarian Law and a doctorate on Climate Change Law, Climate Governance and Climate Policy. She collaborated with many international institutions, including IUCNAEL, USAID and CAN EECCA. After years of lecturing at the University, international expertise in environmental, energy and climate law and public advocacy on the environmental rights of local communities, including grassroot campaigning against the fossil fuels, Svitlana is a climate activist, green strategist and a campaign manager, passionate about climate justice, ending fossil fuels, green finance and green inclusive economy. Most recently led, designed and managed successful regional and national Climate, Fossil Free, 100% RE till 2050, Just/Green Recovery and Green Deal campaigns in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia for 350.org. Lives in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine with her husband and two kids.

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Agnes Richard
8 months ago

Dear Svitlana. Thank you so much for your courage, prophetic vision and forthright statements regarding the role of oil and gas multinationals in perpetuating violence.

Andrew Conradi, ofs
Andrew Conradi, ofs
8 months ago

God bless you. Slava Ukraina!