The carbon footprint of military sectors in the EU

Militaries are high consumers of fossil fuels – and yet they are frequently exempt from publicly reporting their carbon emissions. This is equally true in the European Union, and so a new report by SGR and CEOBS has examined the size of the military carbon footprint in the region.

Tackling the global climate crisis requires transformational action by all sectors, including the military. In October 2020, the Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS) and Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR) were commissioned by the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) – a group within the European Parliament – to undertake a broad analysis of the carbon footprint of the EU military, including both the national armed forces, and military technology industries based in the EU. The study also looked at policies aimed at reducing military carbon emissions.

SGR had published a report on the environmental impacts of the UK military sector in May 2020, which estimated the carbon footprint of the UK military and compared this to figures published by the UK Ministry of Defence. A similar methodology to that used for SGR’s UK report was applied to estimate the carbon footprint for the EU military.

Report by Dr Stuart Parkinson and Linsey Cottrell, with research contribution of Stop Wapenhandel.