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Volodymyr Sadyk on his dune buggy in Ukraine.

GZERO World

Ukraine’s killer dune buggies

“Pah! pah! pah! pah!” Volodymyr Sadyk, a metalworker from western Ukraine, clambers into the seat of a battle-ready dune buggy in the yard of his shop near the Romanian border, imitating the sound of a heavy gun blasting away at Russian positions.

Sadyk is the founder of VOLS, a company that makes these custom buggies for the Ukrainian army.

Before the war, his speciality was metal gates, but in his spare time, Sadyk and his pals built and raced their own buggies – bare-bones, open-topped vehicles with big, rugged wheels, and screaming rear-mounted engines.

When Russia invaded last February, Sadyk had an idea — he offered some of them to the Ukrainian army. The feedback was immediate: send more.

Since the earliest days of the war, Ukrainians have come up with DIY ways like this to even the playing field against a much larger enemy. There was, for example, a moment early on when Ukraine’s tractors were briefly a social media sensation for taking on Russian tanks.

“War always produces innovation,” says Gian Gentile, a retired US Army colonel and military historian at the RAND Corporation. “But on top of that, the Ukrainians are fighting for their survival. It’s an existential fight for them, and this kind of inventiveness is the result of that.”

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Annie Gugliotta

What We’re Watching: Australia’s climate bill, Ukraine’s progress, Sweden’s election

Australia passes climate bill after a decade

The Australian parliament has passed its first piece of climate legislation in over a decade just months after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of the center-left Labor Party came to power vowing to prioritize climate change mitigation efforts. The bill – supported by the Green Party and independents but not by former PM Scott Morrison’s Liberal Party – passed the Senate (and is all but assured to be passed by the lower house). It includes a commitment to slash greenhouse emissions by 43% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. For context, the US emission reduction goal for 2030 is 50%, Canada’s is 40%, and the UK’s is 78% by 2035. Although the new target is an improvement from the former conservative government’s 26%, critics say the bill doesn’t go far enough to offset Australia’s large carbon footprint. Australia is the world’s second-largest exporter of coal and relies on coal for 75% of its electricity consumption. The Albanese government has notably not banned new coal and gas projects – lucrative Australian exports – which some say could make this 43% target hard to meet. Still, after years of government foot-dragging, many Aussies are hailing this progress four months after a general election that was seen in large part as a referendum on climate (in)action.

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