The Pentagon's Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Climate Change and War

Hosted by LSE's Shape the World Series

Auditorium, Basement, Centre Building


Professor Neta C. Crawford

Professor Neta C. Crawford


Professor Karen E Smith

Professor Karen E Smith

The Pentagon was a leader, in the 1980s and 1990s, in the United States in recognising climate change as a looming security concern. The US Department of Defence has thus prepared for climate change with plans for responding to climate caused disruption to operations. The DoD is also predicting and preparing for climate change caused war. What are the security threats that will flow from climate change? Is ‘climate war’ inevitable?

The DOD is also the US government’s largest fuel user and perhaps the world’s largest institutional greenhouse gas emitter — with annual emissions larger than the annual emissions of many countries. Tracking the causes and trends DOD fuel use from 1975 to 2018 and linking it to military doctrine shows a strategic disconnect: the Pentagon’s fuel use and military doctrine undermines its security objectives. What explains this? 

Neta C. Crawford is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Boston University. She is also a co-director of the Costs of War Project based at Brown University and Boston University. Crawford has served on the Governing Council of the American Political Science Association and the editorial board of the American Political Science Review. She is currently on the editorial board of Journal of Political Philosophy and Bristol Studies in International Theory. She is the author of more than four dozen academic articles and her books include Argument and Change in World Politics: Ethics, Decolonization and Humanitarian Intervention (Cambridge University Press) and Accountability for Killing: Moral Responsibility for Collateral Damage in America's Post-9/11 Wars (Oxford University Press).

Karen E Smith is Professor of International Relations and Head of the Department of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Director of the European Foreign Policy Unit (within the International Relations Department). 

LSE Shape the World Series - to celebrate the completion of LSE’s newest building, a series of public events organised by some of the academic departments who are now housed in the Centre Building will take place this term. 

The Department of International Relations (@LSEIRDept) is now in its 92nd year, making it one of the oldest as well as largest in the world.  

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A podcast of this event is available to download from The Pentagon's Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Climate Change and War.

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