Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Resource focus

In a previous post (Sunday, 18 January 2009) I mentioned that I had put in a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Ministry of Defence. In this request, I asked for information regarding MOD greenhouse gas emissions and regarding the financial cost of UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MOD very courteously replied to my FOI request, sending me an email detailing the financial costs and a link to the MOD Climate Change Strategy 2009 document online (

The climate change strategy document makes interesting reading regarding the predicted effects of climate change (such as water shortages, food shortages and sea level rise, leading to displacement of people and animals) particularly from a defence viewpoint.

However, back to the issues I asked about.

MOD Carbon Dioxide emissions:
· MOD direct carbon dioxide emissions for the period 2007/2008 were 6.1 million tonnes (source: MOD Climate Change Strategy 2009).

As a point of reference:
· According to DEFRA statistics for 2007, the UK emitted 544 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, which accounted for 85% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions (about 2% of the global total).
· 40% of the carbon dioxide in 2007 was emitted by the energy supply sector.

Financial cost of UK operations in Iraq and Afghanistan:
· The total monetary cost of British activities in Iraq up to 2008 is £6,439 million. The predicted cost for 2008/2009 is £1,379 million.
· The financial cost for UK operations in Afghanistan up to 2008 is £3,086 million. The predicted cost for 2008/2009 is £2,318 million.
Presumably as operations in Iraq wind down and Afghanistan becomes the primary focus the costs will reflect that.

As a point of reference:
· A proposed 3 turbine wind farm near Santa Pod, which if built will provide electricity to about 3000 homes, will cost around £7million to develop/build (source: Nuon).
· The RSPB-Atkins study for the Severn "reef" development, projected to generate 20,000GW of energy each year, will cost around £13 billion to build.
· The cost for the 2012 London Olympics seems to keep rising. The China Daily website cites a cost of around £9 billion so far (

In the present financial and environmental crisis we need to invest our limited resources wisely if we are to achieve what is needed to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

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