Below is a summary of our COP27 activity highlights including the wide media/social media coverage.
We hope you may be able to help us raise ever greater momentum on this ‘military emissions elephant in the room’ (estimated conservatively at around 5.5% global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions) as we also strive to redirect excessive levels of military spending on GHG emitting hardware in favour of climate finance and loss & damage.
Our Transform Defence twitter account has a comprehensive narrative of military emissions and spending progress at COP27.
Please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like to know more about this issue.
Deborah Burton & Dr. Ho-Chih Lin
COP27, SHARM EL-SHEIKH, 6-18 November 2022
MILITARY EMISSIONS & SPENDING SUCCESSFULLY MOVED UP THE AGENDA
The digging in of heels by rich countries resisting paying up for Loss and Damage finance well beyond the official closure date of COP27 was an utter disgrace. But they can kick the Loss and Damage ‘can’ no further down road. After 13 years it is to become a reality. And on our topic, we made progress in taking military emissions and spending into the main Blue Zone. Vitally, we are increasingly connecting military emissions and spending to the Loss and Damage finance calls.
COP27 SIDE EVENT
On 9th November our Blue Zone side event took place at COP27. ‘Dealing with Military and conflict-related emissions under the UNFCCC’ was hosted by the government of Ukraine and UK development agency CAFOD. 150 attended, including media outlets, UN observer organizations party to various climate talks and civil society groups. This side event was the result of conversations which developed from the publication of our June 2022 report by Axel Michaelowa et al Military and Conflict-Related Emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and Beyond. Ukraine presented their latest findings on the emissions resulting to date from Russia’s invasion. Following on from Axel Michaelowa’s report presentation, TPNS concluded the event with a presentation by Deborah Burton (transcript here)
COP27 REPORT LAUNCH
On 14th November at COP27 we launched our co-published report ‘Climate Collateral: How military spending is accelerating climate breakdown’. We joined with the Transnational Institute and Stop Wappenhandel (Netherlands) to connect the dots between military emissions, military spending and climate finance. It also addressed links between this issue and Green New Deals, as well as COP27 host country Egypt’s role in arms sales and human rights abuses.
Combined, these two activities were able to make considerable in-roads in bringing military emissions and military spending to a range of audiences inside the Blue Zone.
COP27 RAISING THE ISSUE OF MILITARY EMISSIONS
Our emissions work has a triple focus on UNFCCC (submission on emissions), IPCC (on the AR7-cycle agenda) and Global Stocktake (of emissions for COP28). Our COP27 side event and written materials were brought to the attention of senior figures at both the IPCC and Global Stocktake; UNEP and UNDP. Introductory conversations on UNFCCC submission idea with Climate Vulnerable Forum members; Austria; Ireland; Pakistan.
COP27 RAISING THE ISSUE OF MILITARY SPENDING
Loss and Damage & Climate Finance
Loss and Damage funding for developing countries already devastated by climate change is a major call at this COP27. We were able to make interventions at some of the key Loss and Damage side events to bring attention to the $2trillion p/a spent on (the bigger oil-dependent) militaries as an obvious and legitimate source to tap for L&D finance. It was a privilege to be able to introduce this topic to Climate Vulnerable Forum representatives and Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate.
MEDIA/SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE
A considerable amount of media coverage was secured for both the side event & report. Guardian, Bloomberg and Agence France Press ran our side event as a major COP27 story, with our emissions stat and other quotes reported. The influential Climate Action Network also covered our event in their daily newsletter ECO. During the COP27 period there were more than 450 downloads of our Military and Conflict Related Emissions report from our website.
Democracy Now (USA) and Naomi Klein promoted the TNI/TPNS/SW Climate Collateral military spending report. Social media pick-up was strong for both, with tweets by TNI and partners (IPB, GCOMS, The Left in the European Parliament, Centre Delàs etc) promoting the report attracting hundreds of retweets and likes, reaching hundreds of thousands people on Twitter, and the report’s video securing more than 1.2m views on TikTok.
All side event and report media here.
Our attendance at COP27 was made possible with support from CAFOD, Global Justice Now, Jam Today, MAW.
Climate change is a rich-world driven phenomena, many decades in the making. Rich countries of the Global North are collectively responsible for 92% of emissions while Asia, Africa, Latin America accounts for only 8%, with most countries in the Global South (China and Brazil excluded) contributing nothing to the climate crisis. There is a parallel story and it is one that connects military spending, emissions, accountability and re-distribution. It is yet one more lens through which to understand the intersection of power, money, climate change and historic responsibility.
The G20 nations comprise 87% of annual global military spending, which is, in turn, spent on gas-guzzling jets, tanks, warships etc. Clearly, at $2 trillion per annum (and rising), military spending is a far greater priority than the climate chaos reality being lived day in day out by hundreds of millions of children, women and men across the global south. In 2020, public climate finance was estimated to be $321bn, less than one sixth of the $1981bn sum spent by global militaries in the same year. Since 2015, the G7 and other industrialised countries have committed to spend $100bn a year under UNFCCC to support climate action in developing countries. The pledge was never fulfilled. One-year’s global military spend would fund climate finance for 20 years.The $2 trillion global lifetime cost of the F-35 fighter jets could have funded UN disaster risk reduction for the next 4,000 years; or global biodiversity conservation at $100bn p/a for the next 20 years or WHO funding at $2bn p/a for the next 1,000 years.
Critically, we need to address the undisclosed nature of much of the global military’s emissions. There is no accurate account of military emissions, in peacetime or war because the global military is currently exempt from compulsory reporting of GHG emissions to the UN/IPCC. Some countries, including the USA, the UK and Germany, voluntarily partially report, but this needs only to follow the IPCC template and codes which have only a handful of items mentioning domestic military-related activities.