Unlike De Klerk’s initiative, the National Environmental Inspectorate’s methodology is not designed to account for indirect emissions such as those due to the displacement of Ukrainian war victims. This also does not take into account the potential emissions of a possible reconstruction. For now, the draft method will instead inventory emissions only from hostilities-related forest fires, damage to industrial facilities, and fuel consumption of military equipment – ​​and nothing else. (These methods could be extended in the future, for example, to include emissions from infrastructure fires). It’s the difference between making science-based estimates – the current domain of the GHG Warfare Accounting Initiative – and only collecting data that will meet a particular legal threshold and withstand the scrutiny of a judge who will separate them during a trial. The methods project of the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine aims to achieve the latter objective. They will therefore only measure direct greenhouse gas emissions that can be calculated “accurately” and with the information currently available, said Andrii Moroz, a lawyer who advises the National Environmental Inspectorate.

For example, forest fires caused by bombing often must meet criteria to ensure that they do not occur naturally. An atypically shaped fire that follows a pattern of lines characteristic of bombardments, for example, is a sign that it did not occur by chance but was due to “anthropic influence”, as Savenets sometimes calls the acts of war out of scientific habit. Meanwhile, the destruction of industrial property, for example a pipeline or a power plant, must be formally attributed to Russian troops by official bodies like the National Emergency Service of Ukraine.or the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine, in order to attribute these emissions to Russia.

Alina Sokolenko, a sustainable development expert who analyzes legal issues related to environmental damage caused by war for the State Environmental Inspectorate of Ukraine, sums it up: “It’s not just about know how to measure, but (also) how to prove and how to receive compensation for these losses.

Should Ukraine move forward? with claims of greenhouse gas emissions, this would mark theThis is the first time a country has sought reparations for such damage resulting from total war, Cymie Payne, a professor at Rutgers Law School and an expert in international environmental reparations, told me. “It would push our understanding of the harms of war on the environment in new directions. »

The path to compensation would likely follow the usual legal procedures. First, the plaintiff – Ukraine – would have to demonstrate that it suffered harm because the respondent – ​​Russia – broke the law. He would then have to demonstrate the extent and nature of the damage he suffered, and also that the law requires compensation.

Yes, climate claims would be far from substantiated, largely because it will not be easy for plaintiffs to establish that greenhouse gases have caused Ukraine specific enough harm to be offset. Nonetheless, Ukrainian experts point to a relevant precedent in international courts where a handful of lawsuits have resulted in the awarding of environmental damage resulting from cross-border conflict. In the main of these cases, Kuwait accused Iraq of violating the doctrine of international law prohibiting unprovoked attacks by dumping huge amounts of oil in the Kuwaiti desert during the Gulf War of the early 1990s. The United Nations Compensation Commission awarded Kuwaitapproximately $3 billion in monetary compensation for these claims alone. In 2018, the International Court of Justice ruled that Nicaragua I had to pay Costa Rica a few hundred thousand dollars in environmental compensation for the illegal dredging of a canal that damaged its wetlands.

Karen Hulme, of the University of Es___ Law School, thinks that one possible, but never-before-tested avenue that Ukraine could take to assert its claims would be to assert that, as in the case of Iraq, the invasion of Russia constitutes a violation of the prohibition imposed on States. use unprovoked force against each other. This doctrine is enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations. Ukraine should further argue that Russia must repair all climate damage caused by monetary damage. Alternative arguments could invoke violations of global climate rules related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or of states’ duty to prevent significant transboundary environmental harm, a doctrine of international law, Hulme said. “It is so far unprecedented in international law for greenhouse gas emissions to be considered damages in such claims,” she warned. “There would therefore be many legal hurdles to overcome. »

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