The Pentagon pumps out more climate-destroying greenhouse gases than some of the world’s most developed countries.
According to a new study from Brown University, the US Government emits more harmful gases through its military and defence operations than industrialised countries like Sweden and Portugal.
The researchers said the Pentagon was responsible for releasing around 59 million metric tonnes of planet warming gases in 2017 alone.
It has released 1,212 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases since the invasion of Iraq in 2001 – making it the single biggest institutional source of climate destruction in the world.
If it were a country, it would be the 55th largest contributor to climate change in the world.
The researchers note that, unlike many members of US President Donald Trump’s administration, the US Department of Defence has been studying climate change for years and actually acts as if the “negative security consequences of a warming planet are inevitable.”
“Global warming is the most certain and immediate of any of the threats that the US faces in the next several decades,” they wrote in the study.
“The effects of climate change, including extremely powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water will likely make regions of the world unstable — feeding political tensions and fuelling mass migrations and refugee crises.
“In response, the military has added the national security implications of climate change to its long list of national security concerns.”
They note that instead of preparing to deal with the effects of climate change, the military has an opportunity to reduce the risks by cutting its emissions.
The study notes that: “The most dire consequences of climate change and the associated threats and consequences to national security are not already baked into the system.”
“There is time to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it is urgent to do so.
“If the US military were to significantly decrease its greenhouse gas emissions, it would make the dire climate change-caused national security threats the US military fears and predicts less likely to occur.”
It notes that if the Pentagon were to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels it would also reduce the need to protect its access to them, allowing it to cut down on its presence in the Persian Gulf.
The researchers note that it could also “re-evaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia and other allies in the region.”
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at its highest level in human history and has just seen its second highest year-on-year rise since records began.
The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is currently rising at a rate of 3.5 parts per million (PPM) every year.
The average level recorded last month peaked at 414.7ppm.
Climate scientists have warned that allowing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to pass 450ppm could see the effects of global warming become catastrophic and irreversible.
At current rates we will pass that threshold in less than ten years.