Russia’s war in Ukraine is undermining global efforts to tackle the climate crisis, new report finds

The war in Ukraine has brought an enormous human toll: Thousands of civilians have been killed, millions have been forced to flee overseas, it has destroyed homes, schools and hospitals. But beyond the immediate, visceral impacts, the conflict is also causing a climate disaster at a time when the world is already struggling to meet climate goals, according to a new report.
A team of carbon accounting experts has evaluated the climate impact of the first year of the conflict, which started in February 2022.
They found that a total of 120 million metric tons of planet-heating pollution can be attributed to the first 12 months of the war, according to the report published Wednesday. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions of Belgium, or those produced by nearly 27 million gas-powered cars on the road for a year.
“It’s the first time that the emissions of a war have been mapped on such a comprehensive scale,” Lennard de Klerk, the report’s lead author and an expert in war-related emissions, told CNN.
The report, titled Climate Damage Caused by Russia’s War in Ukraine, follows on from a first interim assessment presented at the UN COP27 climate conference in November 2022.
The team of researchers looked at the climate impact of the planet-heating pollution produced directly from warfare, including fuel use for tanks, planes and other equipment, construction of fortifications and production of weapons. They also examined impacts from the consequences of the war, such as fires, destruction – and required reconstruction – of infrastructure and changes to the European energy mix.
Nearly 22 million metric tons of planet-heating pollution came from warfare, almost 20% of the total emissions attributable to the conflict, the report found.
But this may be a conservative estimate. The emissions of the military were challenging to calculate, de Klerk told CNN. It’s not possible, for example, to just get in touch with Russia to ask them how much fuel they are using in their tanks and planes, he said.
“We probably will only be able to really get a more accurate estimate once the war is over,” de Klerk said.

Supporter Asked on June 7, 2023 in Books.
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