Feb 8, 2022 - Energy & Environment

U.S. Army to aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050

Photo of an Army vehicle in a large body of water
Service members assist law enforcement with evacuation efforts as the Black Creek river begins to crest in Florence, South Carolina on Sept. 17, 2018 after Hurricane Florence hit the southeast U.S. Photo: U.S. Army National Guard via Getty Images

The U.S. Army released its first climate strategy on Tuesday, outlining plans to cut its greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2030 and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: 2019 report from Brown University estimated that the U.S. military has emitted 1,212 million metric tons of greenhouse gases since 2001. In 2017 alone, its emissions totaled 59 million tons, more than many industrialized nations.

Details: The strategy states that the Army will "increase capability and installations’ resiliency; prepare for new hazards and new environments; modernize processes, standards, and infrastructure; and decrease operational energy demand—all of which in turn will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions."

Their objectives include...

  • Investing in an all-electric non-tactical vehicle fleet by 2035.
  • Significantly reducing operational energy and water use.
  • Buying electricity from carbon-pollution-free generation sources.
  • Building out ways to reduce direct greenhouse gas emissions that result from Army training by 2028.

What they're saying: "For today's Soldiers operating in extreme temperature environments, fighting wildfires, and supporting hurricane recovery, climate change isn't a distant future, it is a reality," Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in the document's foreword.

  • "The effects of climate change have taken a toll on supply chains, damaged our infrastructure, and increased risks to Army Soldiers and families due to natural disasters and extreme weather."
  • It "threatens America's security and is altering the geostrategic landscape as we know it," she noted. "The time to address climate change is now."

Worth noting: Due to national security reasons, it's unknown how much the military actually emits.

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