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Study reveals massive greenhouse emissions stemming from Russia's war in Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller June 13, 2024 9:45 AM 2 min read
Firefighters extinguish a fire at an oil depot following a Russian drone strike on Feb. 10, 2024, in Kharkiv, Ukraine. (Viacheslav Mavrychev/Suspilne Ukraine/JSC "UA:PBC"/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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The first two years of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine have generated greenhouse gas emissions totaling around 175 million tons of carbon dioxide (C02), a figure higher than the entire yearly output of the Netherlands, said a joint study conducted by Ukraine's Environment Ministry and climate NGOs released on June 13.

Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine has caused massive environmental damage, including the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka Dam and subsequent flooding, widespread forest fires, and the devastation of wide stretches of farm land.

According to the study, the total damage associated with greenhouse gas emissions from the first two years of the full-scale invasion has exceeded $32 billion.

The figure includes both the direct effects of the war, such as the impact of shelling and bombing, forest fires, and damage to energy infrastructure, as well as its associated impacts, including increased refugee flows, rerouted plane traffic, and the future carbon cost of reconstruction.

Military activity formed a significant portion of the total emissions, at around 51.6 million tons, 35.2 million of which came from the fuel consumption of Russian troops.

The study focused solely on the costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions, which are only a part of the environmental impact of Russia's full-scale war in financial terms.

It also emphasized that the estimated total "relied on conservative assumptions," in part due to the inability to access data from parts of Ukraine under Russian occupation or where fighting is ongoing.

The true total could be much higher, and may be revised at a later date, the study said.

Opinion: Green recovery in Ukraine is a strategic imperative for the EU
Two years of brutal, full-scale invasion by Russia has inflicted severe environmental damage on Ukraine, impacting the country’s rich biodiversity, contaminating land and water resources, and posing a direct threat to public health and safety. Addressing these challenges is crucial for the environme…

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