Putin's Invasion Of Ukraine Is Having The Same Impact On Earth As 90 Million Cars

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin Contributor via Getty Images

Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is having a catastrophic impact on the climate, a new report has found.

It’s been more than two years since the Russian president invaded the smaller European country – and neither side are anywhere near peace talks.

In that time, not only have thousands of people been killed and millions others displaced, but the war has either directly caused or paved the way to emissions of 175 million tonnes of CO2, a new report from Ukraine’s environment ministry and climate NGOs claimed.

That’s equal to the annual emissions produced by 90 million cars, and the same amount the entire of the Netherlands produces in a single year.

The report said these emissions are produced by the “billions of litres of fuel used by military vehicles, nearly a million hectares of fields and forests set ablaze, hundreds of oil and gas structures blown up and vast amounts of steel and cement used to fortify hundreds of miles of front lines.”

This includes emissions already released and the emissions which will have to be produced when the country is rebuilt after the war, a measure known as the Social Cost of Carbon.

“The total climate damage that the Russian Federation has caused after 24 months the war amounts to more than $32 billion (£25 billion),” it said.

That cost comes from the military activity damage, the repair costs and a range of other elements such as the fires triggered – the frequency of which has increased due to the war – and the displacement of people.

A million hectares of land have been damaged by 27,000 war-related fires. That works out to 23 million tons of CO2.

Military activity is responsible for 51.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent emissions – most of which was Russian fuel consumption (35.2 million tons).

Putin has repeatedly promised to cut Russia’s carbon emissions over the last decade, but they keep rising.

The country was also a major fossil fuel supplier to Europe, until the West decided to wean itself off it in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

Meanwhile, the president has accused the West of “capitalising” on climate worries.

Putin said in February: “Many representatives of this part of the European political spectrum (the greens) are capitalising on people’s fears and inciting people’s fears about the events that may occur in the world due to climate change.”