Open letter to Nigel Topping, High Level Champion for Climate Action at COP26

Date: 13 October 2021

Dear Mr Topping

Military greenhouse gas emissions must be on the agenda for COP27

Militaries are major greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters and typically the largest energy consumers among any government agency. Because militaries have been excluded from compulsory reporting obligations since Kyoto, data on global military emissions is very limited. In spite of the scale of their emissions, the military’s contribution to climate change impacts is not part of official COP26 discussions in November 2021.

In November 2020, the EU published the Climate Change and Defence Roadmap, which recognises that the military must take action to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. However, this roadmap is not legally binding. In June 2021, NATO members also pledged to begin to reduce their military GHG emissions. No clear targets have yet been provided by member states, or detail on how GHG emission reductions will be achieved.

Meanwhile, public awareness of this issue is growing. As of 17th September, more than 100 organisations have called for governments to commit to meaningful military reductions pledges at COP26. Climate, development and peace experts have signed an open letter calling for an IPCC Special Taskforce to be established, while a petition asking for the military to be included in GHG reporting and reduction targets has more than 17,000 signatories.

An obligation on governments to fully report the emissions of their militaries is a critical first step given the urgency of the climate crisis. As the UK’s High Level Champion for Climate Action, we ask for your support in ensuring that military GHG emissions are included on the agenda for COP27.

As global military spending continues to increase – reaching US$ 2 trillion in 2020 – the military sector must be included in GHG reduction targets if countries are to have a chance of achieving climate neutrality by 2050.

We look forward to your response and written reply.

Yours sincerely,

Deborah Burton,

Co-Founder Tipping Point North South/Transform Defence Project

For and on behalf of the following supporting signatories.

Supporting signatories

Abingdon Peace Group

Anglican Pacifist Fellowship

Beyond Uranium Canberra

Biodiversity Conservation Center, Moscow

California for a World BEYOND War

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace

Centre Delàs d’Estudis per la Pau

CND Cymru

Conflict and Environment Observatory

Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes

Cumbria and Lancashire Area CND

East Lancs CND

Energy Mix Productions Inc.

EUROMIL (European Organisation of Military Associations and Trade Unions)

Environmentalists Against War

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Foundation for Global Governance and Sustainability (FOGGS)

Global Campaign on Military Spending (GCOMS)

IKFF Norway

International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons (ICBUW)

Kidlington Peace Campaign

Kingston Peace Council/CND

Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands

Monterey Peace and Justice Center

Movement for the Abolition of War

Ohne Rüstung Leben

Oxfordshire Railway Society

Pax Christi, England and Wales

Peace Action Durham

Peace Pledge Union

Pendle Climate Action Group

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Chapter, USA

Quaker Council for European Affairs (QCEA)

Rete italiana Pace e Disarmo

San Francisco Bay Physicians for Social Responsibility

Scientists for Global Responsibility

Scottish CND

Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Nuclear Disarmament

Scottish WILPF

Secure Scotland

Shadow World Investigations

Socio-ecological union international

South Pennines COP 26 Hub

Stop Fuelling War

Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society

Tipping Point North South

Trident Ploughshares

United Nations Association London and South East Region (UNA LASER)

United Nations Association – UK

Veteranos Por la Paz España

WILPF Finland


Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, UK Section

World BEYOND War

XR Peace


Zoï Environment Network