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A US military helicopter flies over a green landscape

Our researchers are part of a team calling for more transparency over the hidden carbon emissions created by countries’ armed forces.

They are also launching a new website bring together data reported by governments about their militaries’ emissions in one place.

Previous research has shown that the largest militaries emit more greenhouse gases than many countries combined. If the United States military was a country, its emissions would rank between those of Peru and Portugal.

As reporting military emissions is voluntary, many governments have chosen not to.

Greenhouse gases

With involvement led for Durham by Dr Oliver Belcher, the Concrete Impacts project, in partnership with the Conflict and Environment Observatory, is calling on governments to: 

  • End secrecy around the greenhouse gases produced by militaries and report them in line with other highly polluting industries;
  • Openly report military greenhouse gas emissions by the COP27 world climate change conference in 2022 so that the true scale of global emissions is known and can be factored into climate discussions;
  • Commit their militaries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming below the 1.5C target agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

Supply chain emissions

Militaries are, for many countries, the government agency with the greatest emissions. They rely heavily on fossil fuels to power tanks, planes, aircraft carriers and other vehicles.

Background operations such as transport logistics, and the operation of buildings and bases, also contribute towards greenhouse gases.

And research has shown that most military emissions come from those embedded in the supply chains of the weapons and equipment bought by armed forces around the world.

Find out more