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The Pentagon. Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

America's Defense Department uses more oil and emits more greenhouse gases than any other institution on Earth, according to a new Brown University study.

The impact: The study found that if the Pentagon, which oversees the U.S. military, were a nation, its emissions would rank it as the world's 55th largest contributor of greenhouse gases. The department has been responsible for some 80% of all U.S. government energy consumption since 2001.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Ben Geman: The Defense Department requires massive amounts of jet fuel, diesel and other liquid fuels. Power usage at military installations also contributes.

Context: U.S. energy consumption declined after the end of the Cold War, until the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 in response to 9/11, the study finds. In 2005, energy consumption by the DOD "hit its highest level in a decade."

Methodology: "The Pentagon does not publicly and regularly report its fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions, and there is no official publicly available DOD source for all military greenhouse gas emissions."

  • "It is possible, however, to estimate the overall greenhouse gas of the U.S. military using publicly available emissions data from the Department of Energy for recent years. ... This data allows an estimate of how much of these emissions may be attributable to war."

The report points out: "The military uses a great deal of fossil fuel protecting access to Persian Gulf Oil. Because the current trend is that the U.S. is becoming less dependent on oil, it may be that the mission of protecting Persian Gulf oil is no longer vital and the U.S. military can reduce its presence in the Persian Gulf."

Reality check, via Axios' Amy Harder: President Trump is bullish on the military — and dismissive of climate change, so any efforts to cut down on the Pentagon's energy use are unlikely to come under his leadership.

Go deeper: Earth's carbon dioxide has jumped to the highest level in human history

Go deeper

15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.