Question What can defence forces do to reduce their impact on the environment?

BskrCrew

New Member
I was doing some research and reading into the COP26 conference that took place last year in Glasgow. The conference concluded with nearly 200 countries signing Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5C alive and finalise the outstanding elements of the Paris Accords signed in 2016. It's no secret that militaries are extremely significant carbon emitters. Watching a single MBT revving up its engines can give one a whole new perspective on the climate crisis - much less breathing it in, with which I've done uncountable times. Smells like guilt. So I decided to delve into the military’s contribution into climate change to find studies or discussions about this topic. Namely in how militaries think they could tackle the problem.

Through my research, I found an interesting article on the military’s contribution to climate change, with the unsurprising focus being that, “A lack of transparency makes it hard to calculate the true scale of military emissions but it’s clear they are significant".

The article talks about how energy use at military bases and fuel use from the operation of military equipment such as land vehicles are often seen as the main contributors to military GHG emissions. Arms production and the military supply chain in vehicles manufacturing also play a significant role in the carbon cost of war. There are also insights as to the different aspects of the natural environment that are affected by military operations, such as land cleared and used for military bases.

This begs the question, what can militaries do to reduce their impact on the environment? How far away is the possibility of going electric? What do you think is a challenge for militaries when it comes to addressing their impact on the environment?

Screenshot_20220221-175014_Photo Sherlock.jpg
(Image appears in said article)
U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles give off tactical smoke as they approach Langham Beach, Queensland, Australia during the annual Talisman Sabre exercise, which has been criticised for its environmental impact.
Photo credit: US Navy

Article:
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Militaries are for national defence and any environmental enhancements for operations can’t come from defence budgets. That being said, there is no reason why civilian developments can’t be applied to defence kit. Electric vehicles are quiet, there is a logistical advantage (no vulnerable flammable tankers) and with a suitable mobile power plant, this solution would also be environmentally friendly. IEP for navies along with lasers and possibly rail guns would reduce the need for chemical munitions. Electric ISR drones is another example. Environmentally friendly fast jets, a much harder goal.
 

Meriv90

Active Member
IMHO the defense industry is probably, paradoxically, one of the most environment friendly?

At the end all armed forces pursue one thing. Efficiency. The air forces strive to get the lowest fly cost per hour, the minimal logistic imprint. The army develops polymer casing to make the weight lighter, the navy has (correct me ) CODOG allowing a more flexible combination of energy generation based on the use needed. And so many more cases.

They don't care like in the automotive industry about looks, or size, like for the SUV trend of the last decades, or lets compare the B-52/Bears that have been flying for the last 70 years with planned obsolence of the appliances (washing machines, fridges etc... etc..) that most consumers can afford.

Or how are way more important lithium batteries and future solid state ones in submarines vs normal cars.

There is no status quo, no beauty contest, no show off (omg how much rust have USN ships) in the defense sector.

Or is my vision wrong?
 

Mikeymike

Member
Some countries are taking it seriously as you can see from the Royal Air Force aiming for net-zero by 2040 with the other services also aiming for at least 2050. Most other countries will need to start looking at it to hit their governmental targets for net-zero though there is a cost to this which shouldn't come out of the defense budget if it is going to cost capability.

I think this is actually an area where countries can boost their defence spending with little public outcry while fixing some issues they currently don't have the resource for. For example, Canada could boost its defence spending by going on a infrastructure splurge to make all Canadian forces bases "Green" allowing replacement of current buildings (that are falling apart and need renovation/replacement) with new buildings that encourage low emissions and/or have solar panels built into the design to help offset the emissions of the base.

I think militaries can get to net-zero emissions by a combination of reducing emissions where possible (capability comes first) as well as offsetting any emissions that they cant reduce. This will include new technologies, energy storage, increasing use of Bio-fuels. These all have their own challenges that will need to be addressed. For example if you read the Bio-fuels section on this Australian parliamentary report it outlines some of the issue the Australian Defence department faces regarding converting planes to Bio-fuels.

In terms of other environmental issues not related to emissions, e.g. damage to environment. These are probably harder to reduce due to the nature of defence operations. Where they can reduce these impacts they are mostly already trying to. For example by limiting operations (sonar/exercises) to not harm wildlife.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Agree, fixed infrastructure like bases can be made green. Transportation of kit via rail and ships that minimizes GHG emissions will help. The emissions from pointy end mechanized kit will be harder, especially the kit air forces need.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
I would say a lot of Militaries would have already or soon will move to EVs for their Barracks Vehicles(Cara, Pickups, People Movers, Vans etc).
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I was doing some research and reading into the COP26 conference that took place last year in Glasgow. The conference concluded with nearly 200 countries signing Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5C alive and finalise the outstanding elements of the Paris Accords signed in 2016. It's no secret that militaries are extremely significant carbon emitters. Watching a single MBT revving up its engines can give one a whole new perspective on the climate crisis - much less breathing it in, with which I've done uncountable times. Smells like guilt. So I decided to delve into the military’s contribution into climate change to find studies or discussions about this topic. Namely in how militaries think they could tackle the problem.

Through my research, I found an interesting article on the military’s contribution to climate change, with the unsurprising focus being that, “A lack of transparency makes it hard to calculate the true scale of military emissions but it’s clear they are significant".

The article talks about how energy use at military bases and fuel use from the operation of military equipment such as land vehicles are often seen as the main contributors to military GHG emissions. Arms production and the military supply chain in vehicles manufacturing also play a significant role in the carbon cost of war. There are also insights as to the different aspects of the natural environment that are affected by military operations, such as land cleared and used for military bases.

This begs the question, what can militaries do to reduce their impact on the environment? How far away is the possibility of going electric? What do you think is a challenge for militaries when it comes to addressing their impact on the environment?

View attachment 48925
(Image appears in said article)
U.S. Marine Corps amphibious assault vehicles give off tactical smoke as they approach Langham Beach, Queensland, Australia during the annual Talisman Sabre exercise, which has been criticised for its environmental impact.
Photo credit: US Navy

Article:
.
Replace all fossil fuel, both on the grid and on ships and submarines with nuclear power, that would solve your problem.
Unfortunately the Green lobby is too illogical to endorse it!
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Replace all fossil fuel, both on the grid and on ships and submarines with nuclear power, that would solve your problem.
Unfortunately the Green lobby is too illogical to endorse it!
Agree.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had that discussion with loony green left people over the years, “you want to cut carbon emissions? Go nuclear!” and of course their tiny little brains can’t comprehend or process it.

Green military? Sure, why not, let’s convert all vehicles to solar and ships to wind turbine power.

That way there can only be wars and battles fought on bright sunny and windy days.

Dear, dear ......
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Agree.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had that discussion with loony green left people over the years, “you want to cut carbon emissions? Go nuclear!” and of course their tiny little brains can’t comprehend or process it.

Green military? Sure, why not, let’s convert all vehicles to solar and ships to wind turbine power.

That way there can only be wars and battles fought on bright sunny and windy days.

Dear, dear ......
Yes please because us Maori will attack in the dead of night when it is windy and wet and all you fullas are curled up in your climate friendly above ground bivvies (because you aren't allowed to dig holes) keeping warm. We'll be having us some Australians for lunch, seasoned with some sea salt and garnished with watercress, accompanied by an ice cold Speights beer of three. :D

Actually one of the tech companies near Taupo in NZ, has received an injection of funds from the NZ government to enable it to continue work on scaling up its process for the extraction of lithium from geothermal vents. Government funds New Zealand company Geo40's world-leading technology to recover lithium | Newshub. It has a process for the extraction of silica from geothermal vents that is commercially viable, so now is repeating the process with lithium. Because lithium is widely used in batteries, this is a source of lithium that is environmentally friendly because it doesn't involve large scale mining. There is a very large geothermal resource in the Taupo volcanic zone and both the lithium and silica are in solution in the geothermal water. Such lithium battery technology will eventually make its way into military vehicles and for countries like NZ, Japan and Indonesia with such geothermal resources, this lithium and silica extraction technology will be of immense benefit.
 
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At lakes

Well-Known Member
As a closing comment on the quality of Deep Southern NZ Beer my Uncle was a storeman at the Cherry Farm Mental Hospital and he used to say anyone that likes that stuff he will organize them a bed on the ward.....

Excellent news on the sustainable Lithium extraction process though
 
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