Thursday, February 1, 2024

The Climate Cost of Israel's War Against Gaza

With the global ruling class constantly invoking the spectre of boiling oceans, drowning coastlines and burning forests as they seek to create fear among the serf class, there is one aspect of the "toxic emissions that are supposedly the cause of global climate change that receives almost no coverage.


A recent paper entitled "A Multitemporal Snapshot of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Israel-Gaza Conflict" by Benjamin Neimark et al looks at the projected emissions from the first sixty days of the Israeli war against Gaza.  During the COP 28 meetings held in Dubai, the host nation prompted an examination of the links between conflict and climate change which were included on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agenda for the first time in history.  Since the Israeli military has never publicly reported its own emissions data, the authors created a heuristic (defined as involving or serving as an aid to learning, discovery, or problem-solving by experimental and especially trial-and-error methods) to provide context to their analysis.  From data from the top five European defense spenders in 2019, the authors estimated that Israel's 2019 military budget of US$20.34 billion would result in total emissions of 6.99 megatonnes of CO2, substantially higher than the total 2019 emissions from all of Palestine which are estimated at 4.8 tonnes CO2 equivalent. 


The authors looked at emissions during the first 60 days of the conflict.  They first calculated the following across three time horizons:


a.) emissions from the first 60 days of the war:


1.) Scope 1 emissions - tailpipe emissions


2.) Scope 2 and 3 emissions - manufacturing of bombs and rockets used by Israel, tanks and other vehicles, cargo flights and patrol flights by other aircraft


3.) emissions from the Qassam rockets used by Hamas


b.) emissions from the construction of security-related concrete infrastructure in both Israel and Gaza over the 16 years since Hamas was elected in Gaza.  This includes Hamas' Gaza tunnels and Israel's Iron Wall which separates Gaza from Israel.


c.) emissions from the costs of future reconstruction in Gaza given the destruction related to Israel's bombardment.


Here are their calculations:


1.) Immediate emissions from Israel:


a.) aircraft missions - total of 16,000 flight hours consuming 57.8 million litres of JP8 fuel - 121,000 tonnes CO2e

b.) United States supply flights from the United States - 4400 flight hours consuming 49.5 million litres of fuel -133,650 tonnes CO2e

c.) Israeli artillery - 8000 tonnes of steel and explosives uses - 13,600 tonnes CO2e

d.) Israeli bombs - 2300 tonnes used - 6689 tonnes CO2e

e.) Israeli tanks and vehicles - 1.85 million litres of fuel - 5663 tonnes C02e


Total Israeli immediate emissions – 280,602 tonnes CO2e


2.) Immediate emissions from Gaza:


a.) Hamas rockets - 475 tonnes of rockets - 713 tonnes CO2e


The total immediate emissions for 60 days of war is 281,315 tonnes CO2e or the equivalent of 75 coal-fired plants operating for a year.  This is greater than the annual emissions of 20 individual nations and territories combined.  It is also interesting to note that Hamas is responsible for only 0.25 percent of Israel’s total immediate emissions.


3.) Intermediate emissions from Israel:


a.) Israel Iron Wall - 65 kilometres in length - 140,000 tonnes of steel and iron above ground, 234,000 tonnes of concrete, 9750 tonnes of steel below ground - 274,232 tonnes CO2e


4.) Intermediate emissions from Gaza:


a.) Gaza tunnel system - 500 km tunnels - 176,000 tonnes CO2e


Total intermediate emissions from the building of war infrastructure are 450,232 tonnes CO2e which is greater than the total annual emissions of 30 individual nations and territories combined.


5.) Long Term emissions:


a.) Reconstruction of at least 100,000 destroyed buildings in Gaza - 30,000,000 tonnes CO2e


The total long-term emissions from reconstruction of Gaza is roughly equivalent to the annual emissions from the entire nation of New Zealand and is greater than the annual emissions of 130 individual nations and territories combined.


Keeping in mind that the war in Gaza has continued for nearly 2 months since the authors of this paper completed their calculations, we can see that the carbon cost of war is extremely high.  That said, the rulers would still prefer us to eat bugs and live in our 15 minute cities all in the name of saving the planet for them.  As an additional benefit, those of the global aristocracy who benefit from war will not experience any financial discomfort from peace in the Middle East.

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