Academic papers


International Affairs | Low-carbon warfare: climate change, net zero and military operations

Defence has a carbon problem. This article introduces the concept of ‘low-carbon warfare’ as a means of capturing recent developments, the extent to which they dovetail with existing concerns regarding the business of war in the twenty-first century, and the prospect of significant changes to how militaries operate in the years ahead as the global energy transition unfolds.

Nature | Decarbonize the military — mandate emissions reporting

This article in Nature outlines the state of military emissions reporting so far and presents a way forward for academia and civil society to combat the problem.

Pentagon fuel use, climate change and the costs of war

Neta Crawford explores the U.S. military’s contribution to climate change. She finds that although the Defense Department has significantly reduced its fossil fuel consumption since the early 2000s, it remains the world’s single largest consumer of oil – and as a result, one of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters.



UNFCCC Global Stocktake | Military and Conflict Emissions

This submission to the Global Stocktake calls for the inclusion of military and conflict greenhouse gas emissions in the UNFCCC'S Global Stocktake process for the Paris Agreement. This was supported by Tipping Point North South, Conflict and Environment Observatory, Scientists for Global Responsibility, Costs of War, Transform Defence, Concrete Impacts, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Zoï Environment Network…

Joint call | NATO: Commit to credible climate action

A joint call ahead of COP27 urging NATO to make its methodology for counting emissions public, commit to thorough and transparent reporting, and pledge to cut military emissions.

Joint call | Governments: commit to meaningful military emissions cuts at COP26

A joint civil society call launched by CEOBS that urges governments to set meaningful emissions reduction targets and outlines what these targets need to include to be meaningful. The joint call has been signed by more than 200 organisations.



CEOBS | The COP where we began talking about conflict emissions

A month on from COP27, Ellie Kinney reflects on her time in Sharm El-Sheikh. Ellie landed at the COP with our newly published policy brief, and with a mission to advocate for better reporting of military greenhouse gas emissions.

CEOBS | Climate trackers: join us in shining the spotlight on militaries

Pressure from campaigners, researchers and journalists has been instrumental in driving climate action by states and large corporations. Climate action tracking websites and reports play a vital role in informing this process but as Ellie Kinney writes, the leading climate tracking sites are silent on military emissions.

CEOBS | NATO won’t say how it will count its carbon emissions

NATO has pledged to reduce its instituational emissions but won't publish the methodology it will use to count them. Doug Weir argues that this lack of transparency underscores the importance of military emissions instead being addressed by the UNFCCC.



Berliner Zeitung | Putin should pay for climate damage from war in Ukraine

In this article, Michael Maier reports (in german) on the environental consequence of the war in Ukraine, featuring interviews with Lennard de Klerk, author of the report 'Climate damage caused by Russia's war in Ukraine', Stuart Parkinson from Scientists for Global Responsibility, and Oliver Heidrich, Senior Lecturer at the University of Newcastle.    

Stars and Stripes | Militaries worldwide produce more greenhouse gases than all but 3 countries, study says

Stars and Stripes provides independent news and information to the U.S. military community, including active-duty servicemembers, DoD civilians, veterans, contractors, and their families. In this article, Phillip Walter Wellman reports on the CEOBS and SGR report 'Estimating the military’s global greenhouse gas emissions'.

The Guardian | Ukraine uses COP27 to highlight environmental cost of Russia’s war

Oliver Milman, environmental reporter for Guardian US, reports on Ukraine's focus at COP27 on the environmental impact of Russia's invasion.



IISS | Carbon Emissions, Net Zero and Future Forces: Comparative Analysis of Radical Emissions-reductions Plans and Processes for Defence

This paper compares how countries and alliances plan to address the technical and political complexities of radical defence decarbonisation, suggesting ways to catalyse research and development and address the challenges around defence priorities and resourcing in a changing climate and strategic environment.

US Department of Defense | Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

This report is the Department’s inaugural enterprise-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan and describes strategies for both military installations and operations, aiming to enhance capability while increasing the readiness and resilience of the force.

NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence | Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction – Challenges and Opportunities for Green Defense

This report by Marju Kõrts aims to get further insight into the impact of climate change on military activities (infrastructure, installations and equipment) and its coping techniques.



MEG Conference 2023 | Panel 4: Military carbon footprints: how do we decarbonise?

Decarbonising the military will require a combination of mitigation solutions, including developing and adopting new technologies, use of nature-based solutions across the military estate, education, behavioural change and even rethinking military strategy. This panel will discuss the broad and diverse range of possible mitigation actions, and the challenges of implementing them.

MEG Conference 2023 | Panel 3: Understanding wartime emissions: lessons from Ukraine

Russia’s war in Ukraine has contributed to unprecedented interest in the emissions footprint of armed conflicts, encouraging novel efforts to comprehensively estimate its emissions. Emissions from the war zone, and its impact on emissions elsewhere were estimated for the first 12 months of war. This panel will discuss the initial results, and the numerous challenges in determining impact emissions sources,…

MEG Conference 2023 | Panel 2: From bases to bombers: assessing the military’s organisational emissions

Scope 1 and 2 emissions are at the heart of the military carbon footprint. These encompass the fuel use of all military vehicles – on land, in the air, and on or in water – and the energy use of military bases – including direct heating and electricity use. This panel will examine key data, identifying emerging lessons for emissions…