The Pentagon emits more greenhouse gases than Portugal, study finds

US military operations released about 59 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2017

US military operations released about 59 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2017

The United States creates more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions through its defense operations alone than industrialized countries such as Sweden and Portugal, researchers said on Wednesday.

"If it were a country, it would've been the world's 55th largest Carbon dioxide emitter - with emissions larger than Portugal, Sweden, or Denmark", said the study's author and political scientist at Boston University Neta Crawford. China is the largest contributor, and the the second largest.

In findings released Wednesday, researchers from Brown University said the Pentagon, which oversees the Department of Defense, emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases between 2001 and 2017.

"This makes the Pentagon the U.S. government's largest fossil fuel consumer as it accounts for between 77% and 80% of all federal government energy consumption since 2001", she said in an article.

The Pentagon is the "single largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world", according to a new study about climate change that accuses the Trump administration of being in "various modes of denial" about it.

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"Absent any change in us military fuel use policy, the fuel consumption of the USA military will necessarily continue to generate high levels of greenhouse gases", the paper warns.

The Pentagon's emissions were "in any one year. greater than many smaller countries' greenhouse gas emissions", the study said.

While the military received praise for making some effort to decrease its energy consumption, including by gradually replacing some non-tactical fleet vehicles with hybrid, plug-in or alternative fuel vehicles, reducing idling, and developing solar installations at some bases, the report says there is "room for more reductions".

Back in January, the Pentagon branded climate change "a national security issue" in a report to Congress and has launched multiple initiatives to prepare for its impact. If the US military were to significantly decrease its dependence on oil, the USA could reduce the political and fuel resources it uses to defend access to oil, particularly in the Persian Gulf, where it concentrates these efforts.

Third, by decreasing USA dependence on oil-rich states the US could then reevaluate the size of the USA military presence in the Persian Gulf and reevaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia and other allies in the region. "Cutting Pentagon greenhouse gas emissions will help save lives in the United States, and could diminish the risk of climate conflict".

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