Ukraine war caused as many CO2 emissions as Belgium, report says

Ukraine war caused as many CO2 emissions as Belgium, report says
Credit: Belga

In its first year, the Russian invasion of Ukraine generated as many greenhouse gas emissions as Belgium over the same period, according to a new report from the European Green Foundation and the Environmental Policy and Advocacy Initiative.

The findings will be presented on Wednesday at the UN Bonn Conference on Climate Change. In order to add up the impact of different greenhouse gases, such as methane, the figures have been converted into CO2 equivalents.

According to the research, the first 12 months of the invasion of Ukraine generated the equivalent of 120 million tonnes of CO2.

“This is naturally a human tragedy, first and foremost,” said research author Lennard de Klerk. “But the conflict is also damaging the environment.” De Klerk told Reuters that it is crucial for military emissions to be included in climate goals, especially at the COP28 summit in Dubai later this year where the focus will be on carbon accounting.

Experts estimate that military operations account for 19% of measured emissions.

Most of these emissions come from the use of fuel by Russian and Ukrainian troops. The many fires that have broken out near the front line are also singled out by experts, accounting for 15% of the emissions caused by the conflict.

Almost 50 million tonnes, the bulk of the emissions, have been calculated on the basis of the extensive reconstruction work that will have to be carried out in Ukraine after the war.

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The experts also took into account the gas emissions caused by the suspicious explosion of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines last September. The rerouting of international flights as well as the mobility of refugees was also included in the tally.

The report concludes that the smaller supply of Russian gas to European countries and the ensuing increase in electricity prices did not result in a decrease in emissions. These changes were offset by the increased use of oil, coal and liquified natural gas (LNG), Reuters reports.

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