During a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda, President Trump announced that the U.S. is going to deploy 1,000 more troops to Poland. Even though the soldiers and hardware will be taken from the 52,000-strong U.S. contingent in neighboring Germany, U.S. military deployments and operations require a great deal of energy and leave a major carbon footprint. A new report from Brown University has estimated that since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the U.S. military has emitted 1,212 million metric tons of greenhouse gases. In 2017 alone, CO2 emissions added up to 59 million tons – more than many industrialized nations including Sweden and Switzerland.
BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy records carbon dioxide emissions in different countries and in 2017, total estimated CO2 emissions in Sweden came to 48 million tons by comparison. The U.S. military also produced more greenhouse gases than Morocco, Peru, Hungary, Finland, New Zealand and Norway. According to the research from Brown University, the Pentagon would be the world’s 55th largest CO2 emitter if it was a country.
War and preparation for it are fossil fuel intensive activities and along with being the single largest consumer of energy in the U.S., the Department of Defense is the world’s single largest institutional consumer of petroleum. 70% of all energy gets consumed by moving and utilizing troops and equipment around the world, involving the burning of vast quantities of jet fuel and diesel. Military equipment is not known for its fuel efficiency and it is estimated that the country’s remaining fleet of 60,000 humvees only gets four to eight miles per gallon of diesel. Military real estate also leaves a considerable carbon footprint and in FY2017, the Department of Defense spent $3.5 billion heating, cooling and providing electricity to 560,000 buildings at 500 installations.