Media Release. Unreported military emissions: pushing them up the UNFCCC agenda

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                   09/06/22

Embargoed until 00.01 09/06/22

Unreported military emissions: pushing them up the UNFCCC agenda.

The greenhouse gas emissions of militaries, direct and indirect, are notoriously overlooked. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has served to bring the world’s attention to the relationship between military action and emissions.  All the same, military emissions have yet to take their place on the climate-change agenda.

A newly published report by Perspectives Climate Group (Germany) explores the military emissions ‘reporting gap’, both in peacetime and war. Critically, it offers a much needed robust series of proposals to address this within the UNFCCC process.

Reaching climate neutral: all modern militaries are fossil fuel dependent

‘Military and conflict-related emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and Beyond’ is released at a timely moment as (i) the Bonn Climate Change Conference (6-16 June) takes place in preparation for COP27 Egypt (ii) the Germany hosted summit of the G7 nations (six of which are NATO members)  is but a few weeks away (June26-28) (iii)  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues its assault  and (iv)  global military spending  has now reached $2trillion per annum.

Given we face ‘Code Red for Humanity’ there is a problem with all modern militaries: they are fossil fuel dependent, exempt from compulsory emissions reporting and have no sign of realistic or practical net-zero plans.

We will make the most of our G7 Presidency to ensure this group of states takes on a pioneering role – in the pursuit of climate neutrality and an equitable world,” said Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the handover of the G7 Presidency.

To fully achieve the ambition of climate neutrality means ensuring every sector fully reports its emissions and plans for decarbonisation. A great deal more needs to be done in order to ensure this is the case with military emissions.

The roadmap to military emissions reporting and the UNFCCC

‘Military and conflict-related emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and Beyond’ provides a roadmap to civil society, researchers and countries alike, on how this issue can be taken up and advanced within the UN system.

It includes calls for:-

  • The Paris Agreement rules for reporting of military and conflict-related emissions to be developed.
  • The Paris Agreement to be strengthened to deal with conflicts
  • The IPCC National Inventory Guidelines to be revised to ensure that not only a narrow definition of such emissions prevails. National inventories need to ensure that all the different types of military emissions are duly reported
  • An end to confidentiality regarding the reporting of fuel consumption for military purposes is necessary.
  • Global Stocktake & COP28. Military emissions should play a relevant role in the Global Stocktake due to be finalized by COP28
  • A department of the UNFCCC Secretariat to engage in remote sensing of high intensity destruction of carbon reservoirs like fossil fuel deposits, cities and forest fires reported in a separate “conflict account” in the transparency regime
  • An IPCC Special Report on climate change and global military in peace and war on the agenda of the AR7 cycle.
  • To advance Principles for an Accountancy Framework: Military Emissions in Peace and War.

War is an absurdity in the 21st century

When UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres uttered these words on his visit to Bucha, Ukraine, its meaning had double resonance. Humanity faces runaway climate change – polar ice-caps are melting, forest fires, floods and drought are ever more common.  And we are witnessing the sixth ‘mass extinction.

As the report authors, Axel Michaelowa et al. conclude, ‘the latest IPCC Assessment Report shows that all our attention should be directed towards achieving the 1.5°C target. If we fail in this endeavour, the repercussions will be more deadly than all conflicts we have witnessed in the last decades.’

Contact:
Deborah Burton

E: deborah AT tippingpointnorthsouth.org
T: 020 8847 0377

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. Full report is here.
  2. Perspectives Climate Group is an independent group of highly qualified consultants and researchers providing the private sector, governments and non-governmental organisations (NGO) with practical solutions for domestic and international climate policies, climate finance, and international greenhouse gas markets. Perspectives is internationally recognized for establishing and advancing the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), including the successful design of UNFCCC-approved baseline and monitoring methodologies and the management of complex Programmes of Activities (PoAs).
  3. ‘Military and conflict-related emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and Beyond’ report is based on the Michaelowa and Koch’s academic paper ‘Military Emissions, Armed Conflicts, Border Changes and the Kyoto Protocol’, Climatic Change volume 50, pages 383–394 (2001).
  4. TPNS commissioned the report for the authors’ in-depth knowledge of military emissions as well as longstanding first-hand experience of the inner workings of the UNFCCC processes. The report provides both the technical underpinning of the issue and, critically, a detailed guide on how civil society can pursue this topic at various levels over the coming months and years.
  5. The report, plus the companion advocacy and outreach briefing, is the latest publication for Tipping Point North South’s Transform Defence project. The advocacy briefing is here.
  6. Transform Defence was launched in December 2020 with two reports Indefensible: The true cost of the global military to our climate and human security  and Global military spending, sustainable human safety and value for money.
  7. SIPRI April 2022 World military expenditure passes $2 trillion for first time

Total global military expenditure increased by 0.7 per cent in real terms in 2021, to reach $2113 billion. The five largest spenders in 2021 were the United States, China, India, the United Kingdom and Russia, together accounting for 62 per cent of expenditure.

  1. The Bonn Climate Conference 6-16th June is designed to lay the groundwork for success at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Governments are meeting for the first time since the conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow last November. In Bonn, governments will focus on work in the key areas of mitigation, adaptation, support to developing countries – particularly finance – and loss and damage.
  2. The G7 Summit in Bavaria June 26-28.