Scientists call on global military forces to be honest about carbon emissions



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Scientists are calling for government transparency regarding the huge hidden carbon emissions of their armed forces.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requires certain nation states to report their greenhouse gas emissions each year. But, because military emissions reporting is voluntary, many governments have chosen not to do so. Researchers call this lack of transparency the “military emissions gap”.

As we head towards COP26 of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, researchers from Lancaster and Durham Universities working on the ‘Concrete Impacts’ project, in partnership with the Conflict and Conflict Observatory environment, ask governments to:

  • End the secrecy around the greenhouse gases produced by the military and report them in accordance with other highly polluting industries;
  • Openly report military greenhouse gas emissions by COP27 so that the true scale of global emissions is known and can be taken into account in climate discussions;
  • Commit their armies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming below the 1.5 ° C target agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

And in a further step to highlight the scale of the military emissions gap, the Conflict and Environment Observatory and Concrete Impacts has launched a new website bringing together the data that governments report on broadcasts of their armed forces in one place, allowing people around the world to explore what their governments are doing and not reporting.

The site was officially launched on November 9e during a day of COP26 events under the Arctic Basecamp tent in the Federated Hermes fringe area.

“It is vital that governments take urgent action to reduce the military’s enormous contribution to the climate crisis,” said Doug Weir of the Conflict and Environment Observatory. “With this new website, we can help everyone – from the public, policymakers and the military themselves to understand the true scale of the problem, which is a critical first step in addressing it.”

The military is, for many countries, the government agency with the largest emissions. They depend heavily on fossil fuels to power their tanks, planes, aircraft carriers and other vehicles.

However, the emissions generated by feeding all this combat equipment are only the tip of the iceberg. There are also all the background operations such as transport logistics, and the operation of buildings and bases, contributing to military emissions.

Additionally, research has shown that most military greenhouse gas emissions are derived from emissions embedded in the supply chains of all weapons and equipment purchased by the military. In 2019, sales of the 25 largest arms-producing companies reached approximately US $ 361 billion. Every sale has its own carbon cost, from the extraction of raw materials to production by arms companies, use by the military, dismantling and end-of-life disposal.

Previous studies by researchers at Durham University and Lancaster have shown that larger armies emit more greenhouse gases than many countries combined. If the US military were a country, its broadcasts would be between Peru and Portugal.

However, despite their enormous combined environmental impact, the true scale of military greenhouse gas emissions is hidden. Some countries combine their military broadcasts with civilian broadcasts, or provide incomplete data. Other countries justify non-reporting on the grounds of national security concerns.

Dr Ben Neimark, senior lecturer at Lancaster University, said that ‘allowing the military to continue their activities as usual makes it much less likely that the world will meet its Paris target of keeping warming below 1 , 5 ° C ”.

Linsey Cottrell of the Conflict and Environment Observatory said that “forty industrialized countries spent about $ 1.270 billion on their armed forces in 2020, but only five of them reported their military emissions in accordance with guidelines. of ONU”.

“We also found that 15 other countries, including China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Brazil, Iran, Singapore and Pakistan, which together spent around $ 510 billion on their armed forces in 2020, do not report any disaggregated data on military emissions. . “

Project partners say they don’t want military grade greenwash, they are calling for credible and meaningful action to improve reporting of military emissions to help identify how they can be reduced. This includes:

  • Developed industrialized countries to undertake mandatory and independently verified reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from their armed forces, making information transparent, accessible and separate from emissions from other parts of the economy;
  • Developing countries should begin to voluntarily report emissions from their military;
  • All governments must set clear targets for the military to save energy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally friendly renewables, genuinely reducing emissions and not counting on offsets.

How the world’s military are hiding their massive carbon emissions

More information:

Previous studies:… mpact-on-the-climate

Provided by Lancaster University

Quote: Scientists Call on Global Military Forces to Be Honest About Carbon Emissions (2021, November 9) Retrieved December 17, 2021 from -emissions.html

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