IPCC – We need to talk about the military

The IPCC final synthesis report of this AR6 cycle tells us we are overshooting 1.5 degrees. Governments know what this means. Our home planet is nearing 2 degrees of warming. From there, all bets are off.

When people and planet desperately need urgent 21st century answers to a 20th century made catastrophe, with Code Red warnings ringing louder than ever in our ears, they are getting more of the same kick the-GHG-emissions-can down the road from their so-called leaders.

And wars are part of this.

Russia is still firing missiles into Ukraine, destroying everything in their path. And Ukraine uses between 5,000 and 7,000 artillery shells every day.

This is going on at same time as we mark twenty years since USA and UK’s illegal, catastrophic invasion of Iraq.

For this reason, let’s not lose sight of the unreported military emissions which will be missing from this IPCC report – emissions that are estimated to be – on patchy & partial data – 5.5% of global emissions.

What does this equate to? Well, the global military and its supply chain emits more than civilian aviation and shipping combined – and this figure does not include conflict, war, destruction and reconstruction.

To say that the annual $2 trillion spent on the world’s fossil-fuel-reliant militaries is appropriate to the task at hand is to accept that 21st century threats to human safety are much the same as the 19th or 20th centuries.

They are not. In the face of 2 degrees or more it is anachronistic to shaping and funding 21st century foreign and defence policy on the geopolitics of past eras.

The truth is that the annual $2trillion spent on the big fossil fuel-reliant militaries – and their associated  defence industries – is fuelling climate change, massively robbing funds from climate finance and signally failing to deliver human safety in this time of climate emergency.

At COP27 we made clear the need for our civil society call for military emissions to be on the of the next AR7 cycle agenda in the hope that we can move towards a Special Report on the Military and Climate Change. From there, we need a much wider debate about how we ensure 21st century human safety in the face runaway climate change. Outdated thinking on defence will not suffice because if we do overshoot 1.5 degrees, the repercussions will be more deadly than all of the conflicts we have witnessed in the last decades.