Ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), 140 organizations including PSR National, PSR Arizona, and San Francisco Bay Area PSR are among the signatories on an open letter to Nigel Topping, the High Level Champion for Climate Action, calling for Military greenhouse gas emissions to be an agenda item at COP26.
Militaries across the globe are some of the largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. As cited in Reuters, A Brown University study noted that in 2017 alone, the U.S. Military emitted 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses. The study’s author Netta Crawford also noted that if the U.S. military were its own country it would be the 55th largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
This immense footprint is one of the reasons that PSR and other signatories found it essential that the topic of military emissions be a part of the conversation at the conference. In the letter to Mr. Topping, signatories recognize the strides that have been made but the need for more laws to be codified. The letter states:
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.
There has been a significant shift in public awareness around the need for positive changes to be made to curb climate change. There is no question that military emissions are playing a key factor in creating one of the gravest health crises of our time. PSR stands with over 140 groups and 17,0000 individual signatories who are “climate, development, and peace experts”. We call for an IPCC Special taskforce to be established, as well as making sure the “military to be included in GHG reporting and reduction targets”. The time is now for collective action and for our voices to be heard.