Oct 14, 2021
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Contribution of the Pentagon and the British military to climate change on the planet

Generic Anglo-Saxon Pollutant

In connection with the anomalous overload of the international agenda that has arisen for some time now with calls for combating climate change, and especially in connection with the 26th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP26) opening in Glasgow on October 31, it will not be superfluous to see what the role of the Pentagon is in these changes. and his British allies.

In 2019, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs (Providence, USA) issued report on the impact of the US Armed Forces on the environment. In a report appealing to numerous sources, interesting and detailed information is given on the pollution of the environment by the US Armed Forces around the world.

In particular, it is said that from 1975 to 2018 carbon dioxide emissions (СО2) produced by the US military totaled 1.267 billion metric tons. The emissions produced by the Pentagon annually significantly exceed those from the steel industry of the United States itself and the total emissions of some industrialized countries (Sweden, Denmark, Portugal). From 2001 to 2018, emissions from U.S. military operations overseas totaled 440 million tonnes.

The infrastructure operated by the US Forces includes more than 560,000 facilities with more than 275,000 buildings at 800 bases located on approximately 27 million acres of land in the United States and around the world. In fiscal 2017 alone, the US Department of Defense spent $ 3.5 billion heating, cooling, and powering its facilities. Each facility produces greenhouse gas emissions. The Pentagon building alone, located in Arlington, Virginia, emitted 24,620 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2013.

Scientists have calculated the complex effect of air pollution from the activities of the US Armed Forces around the world, including the following types of pollution:

1. Emissions of greenhouse gases at military bases and during non-military operations;

2. Emissions associated with US wars;

3. Emissions caused by the US military industry;

4. Emissions caused by deliberate burning of oil wells and refineries;

6. Emissions from energy sources consumed in the restoration of damaged and destroyed infrastructure;

7. Emissions from other sources (extinguishing media, fire extinguishing chemicals, etc.).

The report states: “The US military has the ability to mitigate the risks of climate change by reducing its role in generating greenhouse gas emissions, but they don’t … However, there is time to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and this needs to be done urgently … If the US military were to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions, it would make the impacts of climate change … less likely. “

In a Watson Institute report, the US military is encouraged to cut its overall greenhouse gas emissions, as well as cut down on fossil fuel consumption. However, the Climate Change Adaptation Plan, promulgated on October 7, 2021, is limited by general provisions. In response to the release of the Adaptation Plan, specialized media in the United States note: “The US military will need to understand and anticipate how climate stress will affect global stability in the regions of the world where they operate today and where they may have to operate tomorrow. Considerations on this issue will soon be published in the Climate Risk Assessment. In addition, the Pentagon will be tasked with reducing emissions, improving energy efficiency and renewable energy use, and integrating electric vehicles. Later this year, following the preparation of the Sustainable Development Report and Implementation Plan later this year, the Sustainable Development Executive Order will be published. “

And along with the Pentagon, the British Armed Forces are one of the leading polluters of the planet. The first independent calculation showed that the British military-industrial sector emits more greenhouse gases every year than 60 individual countries, such as Uganda, which has a population of 45 million.

From 2017 to 2018, the UK military sector emitted 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent into the Earth’s atmosphere. Of these, according to the report, the total volume of direct greenhouse gas emissions from facilities of the UK Department of Defense in 2017-2018 amounted to 3.03 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is roughly equal to the emissions from the entire UK auto industry.

A new report by Scientists for Global Responsibility, Dr. Stuart Parkinson, says the UK Department of Defense is misleading the public about the carbon footprint of its facilities. General carbon footprintThe British Armed Forces is 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is more than 11 times the figures given in the main text of the annual reports of the military department.

Cover photo: REUTERS / Erin Scott

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