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NATO Aims to Cut Emissions by 45% by 2030, be Carbon Neutral by 2050

NATO’s goal is to reduce its civilian and military greenhouse gas emissions by at least 45% by 2030 and to be carbon neutral by 2050; Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said when announcing the first emission targets for the organization on Tuesday.

By committing to eliminating its net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, NATO is aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (34.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

NATO targets refer to NATO assets such as early warning and surveillance aircraft, Italian drones and headquarters in Brussels, as well as other locations at military headquarters in Mons (Belgium), Naples (Italy) or Brunsum (Netherlands).

At the same time, NATO also seeks to help allies reduce the carbon footprint of their national militaries. But according to a 2019 study by Boston University’s Neta Crawford, military emissions are often not bound by national carbon targets; for example, the US Department of Defence is the world’s largest consumer of oil.

A study commissioned by the European Parliament calculated in 2021 that the carbon footprint of the EU military in 2019 will be around 24.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – roughly the same as the CO2 emissions of around 14 million cars.

Main battle tanks like the German Leopard 2 consume 400 litres (106 gallons) of diesel on the battlefield and travel just 100 km (62 miles).

Stoltenberg said that reducing military emissions helps protect the environment and improves military vehicles.

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