Advertisement

Ukraine war increases greenhouse gas emissions, study says

Fires burn in the aftermath of a Russian rocket attack in Ukraine's Dnipro region Jan. 8. A study released Friday suggests Russia's war on Ukraine has caused significant greenhouse gas emissions. The study suggests that GHG emissions from Ukraine's territory during the 1.5-year period exceeded the annual emissions of some European countries, such as Austria, Portugal, and Hungary. Photo handout courtesy of Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration/EPA-EFE

Jan. 19 (UPI) -- A new study released Friday suggests that during a one-and-a-half year period, Russia's war on Ukraine exceeded the annual greenhouse gas emissions of European nations such as Austria, Portugal and Hungary.

The research team was led by Rostyslav Bun of Ukraine's Luviv Polytechnic National University and WBS University in Poland and includes co-author Dr. Tomohiro Oda from the Universities Space Research Association.

The research paper was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

The research scientists said their paper focused on emissions processes due to wartime activities that may not be covered in official national reporting.

"The sum of such 'unaccounted' for emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide for 18 months of the war in Ukraine is, by our first-order estimate, 77 MtCO2-eq. (relative uncertainty estimated at 22 %, 95 % confidence interval)," the researchers wrote. "These emissions are greater than the annual total GHG emissions of Austria, Portugal or Hungary."

Firefighters battle flames after Russia's drones attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 19, 2022. File Photo courtesy of State Emergency Service of Ukraine
Firefighters battle flames after Russia's drones attacks in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Dec. 19, 2022. File Photo courtesy of State Emergency Service of Ukraine

Researchers said the study focused on "the latest additional emissions caused by: missile launches and projectile firings and explosions; the use of petroleum products by military vehicles; fires at oil depots; fires in buildings and industrial infrastructure; fires in forests and on agricultural lands; and the destruction of wooden constructions."

"On the one hand, in many sectors of human activity in Ukraine, emissions substantially decreased in 2022 (from public power and heat production, metallurgy, transport, the commercial and residential sectors, and others)," the study said. "

Firefighters conduct work while Smoke rises from a building after it was attacked by Russian suicide drones in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022. A study published Friday said the war has generated significant greenhouse gas emissions. File Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko /UPI
Firefighters conduct work while Smoke rises from a building after it was attacked by Russian suicide drones in Kyiv, Ukraine, Oct. 17, 2022. A study published Friday said the war has generated significant greenhouse gas emissions. File Photo by Vladyslav Musiienko /UPI

At the same time, emissions related to refugees and internally displaced persons have increased, and even larger additional emissions are expected in the future because of the reconstruction of Ukraine.

The study said Russia and Ukraine are both significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions and in 2020 were the 4th and 33rd largest emitting countries, respectively.

They concluded by saying the increased emissions should not considered Ukraine's responsibility and should instead be attributed to Russia, the "aggressor country."

But regardless of responsibility, they wrote, these war-related untracked emissions "are currently entering the atmosphere, and the international community, scientists, and policy makers should be aware of this problem and its magnitude."