The invasion of Ukraine and ensuing humanitarian crisis are devastating and destabilizing, as are any unjustified military assaults happening worldwide. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with people in every part of the world being affected by conflict and fighting for freedom, self-determination, and democracy.
In the same week as the Russian government invaded Ukraine, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report assessing the impacts of the climate crisis. The IPCC concludes the world is already experiencing dangerous and widespread climate disruption, affecting the lives of billions of people around the world. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres was equally direct in describing its significance, “Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership…Fossil fuels are a dead end — for our planet, for humanity, and yes, for economies.”
The global dependence on oil and gas is fueling the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine and the accelerating climate crisis. While international coordination on economic sanctions is promising, carve-outs for energy only serve to add to the war chest of a government set on ‘slow annihilation.’ This war, along with the overwhelming and undeniable science of climate change, have fused together and exposed the folly of relying on fossil fuels to power the planet. Leaders from key emitting countries throughout the world must actually lead by immediately scaling alternatives such as renewables, battery storage and electric vehicles and supporting developing nations with speeding their low-carbon transitions. This includes fulfilling the overdue $100 billion per year climate finance promise. Countries must advance the pace of progress and quickly wean their economies off oil and gas. Doing so will strengthen energy security, help reduce the risks of future geopolitical crises, and is the only way to put the planet on a pathway to keep global warming below 1.5C.
Philanthropists are already rising to the moment by mobilizing humanitarian resources to support relief efforts in Ukraine. But philanthropy can do even more to help address the underlying factors that contribute to increased militarism and rising global temperatures causing havoc around the world. Funders who are distraught by this unfolding crisis and looking at ways to build peace should explore opportunities to restore the climate and protect human health.
ClimateWorks is committed to developing and deploying climate solutions in partnership with the growing philanthropic community to meet the moment we are in. We believe that in the darkest hours of humanity, philanthropy has the responsibility to shine its brightest to help protect people, democracies, and the planet.