War vs. Nature

Ukraine has used the Cop27 climate talks to make the case that Russia’s invasion is causing an environmental as well as humanitarian catastrophe, with fossil fuels a key catalyst of the country’s destruction.

Oliver Milman writes in The Guardian on November 13, 2022:

Svitlana Krakovska, Ukraine’s leading climate scientist, said it was difficult to leave Kyiv to go to Egypt… but she was determined to stress the message that Ukraine is the victim of a fossil fuel war. Krakovska said the forests she had studied for climate impacts have been torn apart by bombs, while farmland is now laced with landmines. This damage is similar, she argues, to the destruction inflicted upon developing countries by hurricanes, floods and other climate impacts caused by global heating.

Oliver Milman | The Guardian

Of course the type of destruction is different but fossil fuels caused climate change and it caused this war. Russia destroyed our lives and destroyed our environment. First, of course we need to stop this war, because we are under attack. But then, I’m very much sure we will find a way for fossil fuels to be in our past. Fossil fuels will then be real fossils. Left in the ground, where they belong.”

Svitlana Krakovska, Ukraine’s leading climate scientist
Military and Conflict-Related Emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and Beyond:

As the latest IPCC Assessment Report shows, all our attention should be directed towards achieving the 1.5° target. If we fail in this endeavour, the repercussions will be more deadly than all conflicts we have witnessed in the last decades.


How does war damage the environment?
The environmental impact of wars begins long before they do. Building and sustaining military forces consumes vast quantities of resources. These might be common metals or rare earth elements, water or hydrocarbons. Maintaining military readiness means training, and training consumes resources. Military vehicles, aircraft, vessels, buildings and infrastructure all require energy, and more often than not that energy is oil, and energy efficiency is low. The CO2 emissions of the largest militaries are greater than many of the world’s countries combined. Militaries also need large areas of land and sea, whether for bases and facilities, or for testing and training. Military lands are believed to cover between 1-6% of the global land surface. In many cases these are ecologically important areas. While excluding public development from these areas can benefit biodiversity, the question of whether they could be better managed as civil protected areas is rarely discussed. Military training creates emissions, disruption to landscapes and terrestrial and marine habitats, and creates chemical and noise pollution from the use of weapons, aircraft and vehicles.

Environmental impact of war
Study of the environmental impact of war focuses on the modernization of warfare and its increasing effects on the environment. Scorched earth methods have been used for much of recorded history. However, the methods of modern warfare cause far greater devastation on the environment. The progression of warfare from chemical weapons to nuclear weapons has increasingly created stress on ecosystems and the environment.

The Effects of War on the Environment
History also provides lessons in eco-sensitive warfare. The Bible, in Deuteronomy 20:19, stays the hand of the warrior to minimize war’s impact on nature and men alike: “When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you?” “At the end of the day, if you’re trying to occupy an area, you have a strong incentive not to ruin it,” Dabelko says. The aforementioned biblical quote from Deuteronomy about preserving trees is, perhaps, good advice for the ages. And some warriors are learning that there’s more to be gained from preserving the environment than in destroying it.

Rare earth metals to be extracted from West Virginia coal impoundments
A company will hire 100 people and invest $60 million in southern West Virginia to extract rare earth metals from coal waste impoundments, Gov. Jim Justice said. Omnis Sublimation Recovery Technologies is expected to build its Wyoming County facility and install equipment by mid-2023, the governor’s office said in a statement. “OSRT is giving new life to West Virginia’s coal waste impoundments by using the only commercially viable process to extract strategic metals and rare earth elements without any waste and no negative environmental impact,” said Michelle Christian, the company’s vice president of global sustainability and innovation.

Solar and blueberry farm proposed in Rochester. Could it save city schools money?
Campbell, who said he would earn a percentage of profit from energy credits, said his project will save the school district, and in effect, the city, about $36,000 a year in utility costs, about 7% of the schools’ electricity budget. He said he has not told school district officials yet as the project doesn’t have the full green light to proceed. Campbell said the blueberries are not for retail, or pick your own use. They were chosen because they are efficient in capturing carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen. They are long-term plants with excellent root systems that can last up to 100 years, he said. “The plants get shade from the solar trackers,” he said. “We might harvest them and sell them, but they are not our main product here.” The dual use is defined as agrivoltaics, the use of land for both agriculture and solar photovoltaic energy generation. Campbell said his project will provide clean, efficient energy.

This $25,000 Solar-Powered SUV Is Coming to the U.S.
The vehicle, called the Sion, should emerge on the European market halfway through 2023. A total of 456 half solar cells are built into the car itself, which allows it to travel an extra approximately 70 miles per week on average to its battery, according to the website. The cells are integrated throughout the car into its fenders, hood, rear panels, sides and roof, according to Axios. In addition to the solar panels, the vehicle also has a 54-kilowatt liquid-cooled battery that allows it to travel around 190 miles on a single charge, according to the website. It takes 35 minutes to charge the battery 85 percent at a conventional fast electric charging station. However, Axios noted that, if you live in a sunny environment and don’t have to drive very far, you could get away with never charging the car with anything but the sun. 

Solar panels installed on Quixote Village tiny homes will save nonprofit thousands per year
The project was funded in part by a $78,000 grant from the city of Olympia, as well as grants from PSE, the Squaxin Island Tribe and Tides Foundation. Each tiny house is outfitted with four solar panels, and the community building has 86, bringing the total to 206. Each tiny house hosts one person and their home generates 1 kilowatt of power. In total, the system generates 66 kilowatts. Outfitting the village with solar panels will save it an estimated $551,000 over the next 40 years, as well as reduce its carbon footprint by 58,000 pounds of CO2 emissions, according to a news release from Olympia Community Solar. That’s equal to planting 705 trees a year, or not driving 106,000 miles. And the panels were designed in Washington state.

First and only certified electric plane in the world arrives in Canada
“The cost of electricity to run this plane is very low. It’s $2 or $3 for charging rather than the $100 that you’re going to pay for fuel,” he explained. Maintenance is also expected to be a money-saver over time since the electric motor is simpler than a conventional gas motor.

ESA mulls Solaris plan to beam solar energy from space
The Sun’s energy can be collected much more efficiently in space because there is neither night nor clouds. The idea has been around for more than 50 years, but it has been too difficult and too expensive to implement, until maybe now. The game-changer has been the plummeting cost of launches, thanks to reusable rockets and other innovations developed by the private sector. But there have also been advances in robotic construction in space and the development of technology to wirelessly beam electricity from space to Earth.

Plea hearing scheduled in ‘Gasland’ drilling pollution case in Dimock
Houston-based Coterra Energy Inc. will appear in Susquehanna County Court on Tuesday, according to online court records. Coterra’s corporate predecessor, Cabot Oil & Gas Corp., was charged in June 2020 with 15 criminal counts after a grand jury investigation found the company drilled faulty gas wells that leaked flammable methane into residential water supplies in Dimock and surrounding communities. Dimock drew national notoriety after residents were filmed lighting their tap water on fire in the Emmy Award-winning 2010 documentary “Gasland,” one of the most notorious pollution cases ever to emerge from the U.S. drilling and fracking boom.

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