US Armed Forces Are Bigger Polluters Than 140 Countries, Increasing Climate Change In The World

Minimizing the carbon footprint of industries will go a long way towards fixing climate change, and for this no stone must be left unturned.

However, according to a new study from Lancaster University and Durham University in England, the military may actually be a much bigger polluter. Specifically, the US military.

us_military_pollution- Mohali Businessman Karan Arora

According to the study, the US armed forces is one of the largest polluters on the planet. “If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal,” the authors write.

“The U.S. military has long understood it is not immune from the potential consequences of climate change-recognizing it as a threat multiplier that can exacerbate other threats-nor has it ignored its own contribution to the problem,” co-author Patrick Bigger said in a press statement. In fact just earlier this year the US Department of Defense said climate change is close to making two thirds of their critical installations across the world unfeasible. Unfortunately, though they have the awareness, they seem to lack the

Minimizing the carbon footprint of industries will go a long way towards fixing climate change, and for this no stone must be left unturned.

However, according to a new study from Lancaster University and Durham University in England, the military may actually be a much bigger polluter. Specifically, the US military.

US military pollution

According to the study, the US armed forces is one of the largest polluters on the planet. “If the US military were a country, its fuel usage alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, sitting between Peru and Portugal,” the authors write.

“The U.S. military has long understood it is not immune from the potential consequences of climate change-recognizing it as a threat multiplier that can exacerbate other threats-nor has it ignored its own contribution to the problem,” co-author Patrick Bigger said in a press statement. In fact just earlier this year the US Department of Defense said climate change is close to making two thirds of their critical installations across the world unfeasible. Unfortunately, though they have the awareness, they seem to lack theincentive to act.

Though there have been attempts to make the US military more eco-friendly in the recent past, they’ve all quickly failed as the budget was rerouted to other “higher priority” projects. More importantly though, the researchers say the military needs to change the scope at which it operates across the globe.

us_military_pollution-SAS Nagar Businessman Karan Arora

According to a 2015 report, the US operates over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries. “Its climate policy is fundamentally contradictory,” Bigger says, “confronting the effects of climate change while remaining the largest single institutional consumer of hydrocarbons in the world, a situation it is locked into for years to come because of its dependence on existing aircraft and warships for open-ended operations around the globe.”

Specifically, the researchers looked at data from the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy (DLA-E). This is the major body responsible for purchasing hydrocarbon fuels for American military needs. To do that, the group has 41 fuel agreements with a variety of countries, giving the military access to pipelines and the like from the US all the way to Japan.

And some of the findings from DLA-E were horrifying.

– In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, the navy $2.8 billion, the army $947 million, and the Marines $36 million.
us_military_pollution - Businessman Karan Arora

– If the US military were a country, it would be the 47th highest on the international table of fuel purchasing.

– In 2014, the US military’s fuel emissions were equivalent to the total emissions of Romania.

– The Air Force is also the the largest emitter of greenhouse gases among the Armed Forces, putting out more than 13,000 kilotonnes of CO2 a year, double that of the US Navy.

“Our research demonstrates that to account for the U.S. military as a major climate actor, you must understand the logistical supply chain that makes its acquisition and consumption of hydrocarbon-based fuels possible,” says co-author Oliver Belcher.

“How do we account for the most far-reaching, sophisticated supply chains, and the largest climate polluter in history? While incremental changes can amount to radical effects in the long-run, there is no shortage of evidence that the climate is at a tipping point and more is needed.”
us_military_pollution - Karan Arora SAS Nagar
According to these researchers, lowering the US military’s carbon footprint means shuttering a vast number of their military bases around the world. And to do that, the country’s domestic and international policies needs more treaties than standoffs. Whether that’s possible for them, well it remains to be seen.

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