Study Reveals Massive Emissions Resulting From The Russia-Ukraine Conflict

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Environmental News, Research Updates

Home » Environmental News » Study Reveals Massive Emissions Resulting From The Russia-Ukraine Conflict

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has led to the emission of 175 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, according to a report released on Thursday. This report, compiled by Ukraine’s environment ministry and climate NGOs, highlights both the immediate and long-term environmental impacts of the conflict.

Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Environmental Impact of Military Activities

The report outlines several significant carbon-emitting activities resulting from the fighting. It details how billions of litres of fuel used by military vehicles, nearly a million hectares of fields and forests set ablaze, and hundreds of oil and gas structures blown up have contributed to these emissions. Additionally, vast amounts of steel and cement used to fortify hundreds of miles of front lines have further exacerbated the situation.

The estimate of 175 million tonnes of CO2 emissions is equivalent to the annual emissions produced by 90 million cars or the entire country of the Netherlands in a year. This comparison highlights the severe environmental impact of the ongoing conflict.

Calculating the Cost of Emissions

The war, initiated by Moscow, has not only caused significant loss of life and displacement of millions but also extensive environmental damage. The report, created with the cooperation of Ukraine’s environment ministry and climate researchers from various countries, attempts to quantify the war’s carbon footprint.

Using the Social Cost of Carbon, the report calculates the financial cost of these emissions. “The total climate damage that the Russian Federation has caused after 24 months of the war amounts to more than USD 32 billion,” the report states. This figure underscores the massive economic impact of the war’s environmental damage.

Breakdown of Emission Sources

The report divides the war emissions into three main categories: military activity, the materials needed to rebuild damaged infrastructure, and various other factors including fires and the movement of people.

In the early months of the war, most emissions stemmed from the large-scale destruction of civilian infrastructure, necessitating extensive post-war reconstruction efforts. However, after two years of conflict, the largest share of emissions now comes from ongoing warfare, landscape fires, and damage to energy infrastructure. Specifically, military activity alone has been responsible for 51.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions, highlighting the direct impact of combat operations on the environment.

Long-Term Environmental Consequences

The report emphasizes the long-term environmental consequences of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The extensive emissions generated by the war will have lasting effects on the region’s climate and environment. As the conflict continues, the environmental toll is expected to rise, adding to the already significant damage.

This comprehensive report serves as a stark reminder of the often-overlooked environmental costs of war. The findings call for urgent international attention and action to address the environmental damage caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict and to mitigate its long-term impacts on the global climate.

Also Read: Canada Predicts Hotter-Than-Average Summer As Peak Wildfire Season Approaches


  • Sarah Tancredi

    Sarah Tancredi is an experienced journalist and news reporter specializing in environmental and climate crisis issues. With a deep passion for the planet and a commitment to raising awareness about pressing environmental challenges, Sarah has dedicated her career to informing the public and promoting sustainable solutions. She strives to inspire individuals, communities, and policymakers to take action to safeguard our planet for future generations.

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