John Kerry fears Russia-Ukraine war will distract from climate change

Kyiv resident: Ukrainians ‘don’t know what to do’ amid Russian invasion

Shlomo Rosilio on evacuating his family and staying behind to help others while Russian forces move into Ukraine.

President Biden’s climate czar, John Kerry, warned Wednesday that Russia’s war against Ukraine is going to distract the world from the climate change crisis and produce “massive emissions” that will negatively impact the globe.

“I’m concerned about Ukraine because of the people of Ukraine and because of the principles that are at risk, in terms of international law and trying to change boundaries of international law by force,” Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, said in an interview on BBC Arabic, MEMRI reported Wednesday. “I thought we lived in a world that had said no to that kind of activity. And I hope diplomacy will win.” 

“But massive emissions consequences to the war – but equally importantly, you’re going to lose people’s focus, you’re going to lose certainly big country attention because they will be diverted and I think it could have a damaging impact,” he continued. “So, you know, I think hopefully President Putin would realize that in the northern part of his country, they used to live on 66% of the nation that was over frozen land.” 

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry attends the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain Nov. 12, 2021.
(REUTERS/Yves Herman)

“Now it’s thawing, and his infrastructure is at risk,” he added. “And the people of Russia are at risk. And so I hope President Putin will help us to stay on track with respect to what we need to do for the climate.”

Kerry, who has faced criticism for his own impact on climate change, made similar comments Sunday when he told GZERO Media’s Ian Bremmer that a Russian invasion of Ukraine will have a “monumental impact on the ability and willingness of people to do what’s necessary” to curb emissions, and it will be “very tough for the climate agenda, there’s no question about it.”

Russian forces invaded Ukraine on Thursday by land, air and sea in the largest military attack of one state against another on the European continent since World War II. 

Flame and smoke rise from the debris of a privet house in the aftermath of Russian shelling outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia on Thursday unleashed a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukrainian facilities across the country.
(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky)

The wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday hit cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee. Ukraine’s government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the geopolitical order. 

According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a Ukrainian transport plane was shot down, killing five soldiers. At least 40 Ukrainian military members are believed to have died as Russia continues to invade the country. Those death estimates are expected to rise.

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and Stephan Sorace contributed to this report.

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