Media release: Unreported military emissions  ― Technical Report & Advocacy Briefing

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                   18/06/22

Unreported military emissions: pushing them up the UNFCCC agenda

Technical Report & Advocacy Briefing

A new  technical report with a companion Advocacy Briefing, commissioned by Tipping Point North South and written 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.

The TV pictures of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – tanks, jets, missiles and smashed up infrastructure –  has meant that the world is also now, finally, looking at conflict through the climate change lens. And doing so in a way it never did for Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria or any other conflict in recent times. The greenhouse gas emissions of militaries, direct and indirect, have been notoriously overlooked. We hope this report can help ensure military emissions finally take their place on the official climate-change agenda.”

Deborah Burton, Co-Founder Tipping Point North South

G7/G20 modern militaries are fossil fuel dependent: pushing this up the COP27 and UNFCCC agenda

As we move towards COP27 one issue remains unaddressed by G7 and G20 summits alike: all modern militaries are fossil fuel dependent with no realistic plan for decarbonisation.

‘Military and conflict-related emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and Beyond’ Report & Advocacy Briefing is released at a timely moment as the Bonn Climate Change Conference (6-16 June) concludes it work in preparation for COP27 Egypt and the Germany hosted summit of the G7 nations (six of which are NATO members)  is due to take place.

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.

This report is a valuable aid in mapping out the steps to achieve important goals such as an IPCC Special Report into military carbon emissions. Through my work at Scientists for Global Responsibility, I see the momentum around this topic is growing rapidly. The report recommendations give a clear direction for action through the formal UN climate convention processes.”

Dr Stuart Parkinson, Executive Director of Scientists for Global Responsibility

“Resources provided through the Military Emissions Gap website and our latest framework for military GHG reporting are bringing attention to the urgent need for full and transparent military emissions reporting, and for the topic to be part of the UNFCCC agenda. This Perspectives/TPNS report complements this by showing how reported information should be central to the UNFCCC process.”

Linsey Cottrell, Environmental Policy Officer, Conflict and Environment Observatory.

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.

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.”


Deborah Burton


T: 020 8847 0377


  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. 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

One thought on “Media release: Unreported military emissions  ― Technical Report & Advocacy Briefing

Comments are closed.