A lack of reporting and significant data gaps means it is inherently difficult to estimate the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of the world’s militaries. Nevertheless, the available data indicates this contribution could be very large. In this study, we describe an innovative new methodology to provide updated estimates for global and regional military GHG emissions. In particular, we find that the total military carbon footprint is approximately 5.5% of global emissions. If the world’s militaries were a country, this figure would mean they have the fourth
largest national carbon footprint in the world – greater than that of Russia. This emphasises the urgent need for concerted action to be taken both to robustly measure military emissions and to reduce the related carbon footprint – especially as these emissions are very likely to be growing in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Authors: Dr Stuart Parkinson with Linsey Cottrell
Publication date: 10 November 2022
Publishers: Scientists for Global Responsibility; the Conflict and Environment Observatory
Update (23 November 2022)
An error in the statement of the first equation on p.4 has been corrected.