Military emissions in peacetime and war – getting this onto the UNFCCC agenda
Dear friends, colleagues and supporters,
The TV pictures of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – tanks, jets, missiles and smashed up infrastructure – has meant that the world is now, finally and belatedly, looking at war and conflict through the climate change lens. It is doing so in a way it never did for Afghanistan or Iraq or Syria or any other conflict in recent times.
World leaders will have to finally deal with the climate impact of conflict as they head into the G7 summit in Germany.
To coincide with the G7 Summit in Germany 26-28 June, 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. Military and conflict-related emissions: Kyoto to Glasgow and beyond offers a much needed robust set of proposals to address this within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The report is covered here in Deutsche Welle, published today.
“The G7 is now struggling with the indirect energy-related impacts of the war… They make it more difficult for the G7 to reach the climate targets under the Paris agreement” says Dr Axel Michaelowa, lead author of the report. “If we have a world that is built on renewable, decentralized energy, there will be less funds for those who want to invade their neighbors”.
To fully achieve the G7 German Presidency ambition of climate neutrality means a great deal more needs to be done in order to ensure military emissions are addressed. Such emissions (enabled by high military spending on fossil fuel-reliant hardware such as jets, warships, tanks) remain notoriously overlooked within UNFCCC processes.
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.
We are grateful to Greenpeace Educational Trust and the Marmot Trust for funding of the report.
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MORE TRANSFORM DEFENCE LINKS
In the moments where the world hoped that Russia meant what it said when it promised it had no intention of invading Ukraine, there was considerable commentary in the USA especially concerning ‘how we got here’. This is a blog piece that brings some of this together – could a different road have been travelled, or was this terrible war inevitable? Now, it is one more conflict fuelling climate change and one with no end in sight.
2. What has global military spend & emissions got to do with development?
A guest blog for Duncan Green’s From Poverty to Power website. Duncan is senior strategic advisor at Oxfam GB.
Runaway global military spending and the global military’s contribution to climate change is every bit as structurally relevant to core social justice issues of power imbalance, poverty, displacement, ecological breakdown as debt cancellation, trade, tax and climate justice.
Full Article: here.
Audio podcast: here. Duncan Green shares his thoughts about the blog.
3. Stockholm+50 UN Climate Gathering
To mark the UN gathering Stockholm+50, Transform Defence published its briefing Stockholm+50 and Global Military Emissions: Ideas for Discussion. We were honoured to have the foreword written by Professor Saleemul Huq, Chair of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Climate Vulnerable Forum.
The briefing was well received and makes the case that military emissions – enabled by runaway military spending – are interlinked with so many topics on the agenda of Stockholm+50. The briefing offers up a number of practical ‘ideas for discussion’ and calls are drawn from previous Transform Defence reports: The Global Military & the UN; Indefensible; Global Military Spending & Value for Money.
4. DEGROWTH. Placing the military in the ‘degrowth’ narrative
The idea of economic growth has been at the heart of the governance and organisation (whether nominally under capitalism, socialism or communism) of the global economy since the industrial age.
The authors of the IPCC report published earlier this year pled for “prioritizing human well-being and the environment over economic growth.” We have to completely transform our economic system to “prosper without growth.” We need to transition to a “post-growth economy” that is zero-carbon and well-being oriented. From the oil industry to industrial farming to space tourism, from products like private jets, SUVs and super-yachts – they all need to go out of business. We need to re-evaluate every aspect of our lives from how we eat, how we dress to how we travel.
We have submitted a short essay for the first issue of the new Degrowth journal on how and why ‘degrowth’ must include the military.
5. MLK: Union Chapel Film Screening Montgomery to Memphis & talk
To mark 4 April – the day Dr.King was assassinated – TPNS was invited to host a screening of ‘From Montgomery to Memphis’ at the Union Chapel Islington, London. In 1967, MLK addressed the ‘triple evils’ of poverty, racism and militarism. His analysis was that they were indivisible. His analysis remains as relevant then as today and is at the heart of our MLK Global project.
Ahead of the screening, and linked to the MLK theme of ‘The Beloved Community’, TPNS was invited to give a virtual talk about its work in general and its Transform Defence project in particular – especially the links between military spending and military emissions.
Peace campaigner and anti-nuclear activist Bruce Kent died on 8 June after a short illness. He would have been 93 on 22 June. At the time of his death Bruce was a Vice-President of CND, a Vice-President of Pax Christi, and Emeritus President of the Movement for the Abolition of War.
For the enormity of the contribution he made on the issue of nuclear disarmament, here in the UK and around the world, we are all indebted. For the passion, integrity, persistence, intelligence, humour and humanity he brought to the toughest of issues, decade in and decade out, he showed the way and will never be forgotten.
Rest in peace.