Cut Military Greenhouse Gas Emissions at COP26

From “War and preparations for war are not just the pit into which trillions of dollars that could be used to prevent environmental damage are dumped, but also a major direct cause of that environmental damage.

The U.S. military is one of the biggest polluters on earth. Since 2001, the U.S. military has emitted 1.2 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases, equivalent to the annual emissions of 257 million cars on the road. The U.S. Department of Defense is the largest institutional consumer of oil ($17B/year) in the world, and the largest global landholder with 800 foreign military bases in 80 countries. By one estimate, the U.S. military used1.2 million barrels of oil in Iraq in just one month of 2008. One military estimate in 2003 was that two-thirds of the U.S. Army’s fuel consumption occurred in vehicles that were delivering fuel to the battlefield.”

In November, the 26th UN Convention on Climate Change (COP26) will meet again.

We hope they will drastically strengthen climate agreements between the nations of Earth.  So far, military greenhouse gas emissions have been excluded from climate agreements.  Several organizations are seeking to change this, by presenting petitions to the COP26.

The Peace & Justice committee has voted to sign two of these in the name of EUUC, as allowed by our Congregational Stand on Global Warming.  We encourage individuals to sign the petition that is set up also for individuals to sign.  The texts of the petition and the call for action are below.  There is also great information on related topics from World Beyond War:


Petition for individuals and organizations to sign:

To: Participants in COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, Glasgow, Scotland, November 1-12, 2021
From: [Your Name]

As a result of final-hour demands made by the U.S. government during negotiation of the 1997 Kyoto treaty, military greenhouse gas emissions were exempted from climate negotiations. That tradition has continued.

The 2015 Paris Agreement left cutting military greenhouse gas emissions to the discretion of individual nations.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, obliges signatories to publish annual greenhouse gas emissions, but military emissions reporting is voluntary and often not included.

NATO has acknowledged the problem but not created any specific requirements to address it.

There is no reasonable basis for this gaping loophole. War and war preparations are major greenhouse gas emitters. All greenhouse gas emissions need to be included in mandatory greenhouse gas emission reduction standards. There must be no more exception for military pollution.

We ask COP26 to set strict greenhouse gas emissions limits that make no exception for militarism, include transparent reporting requirements and independent verification, and do not rely on schemes to “offset” emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from a country’s overseas military bases must be fully reported and charged to that country, not the country where the base is located.


Call for Action, for organizations to sign (excerpt):

Governments must use COP26 to commit to reducing military GHG emissions. For these commitments to be credible and meaningful, they must:

  • Set clear GHG emission reduction targets for the military that are consistent with the 1.5oC target specified by the 2015 Paris Agreement;
  • Commit to GHG emission reporting mechanisms that are robust, comparable and transparent, are based on theGHG protocol, and which are independently verified;
  • Set clear targets for the military to conserve energy, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally responsible renewable energy;
  • Contain clear reduction targets for the military technology industry;
  • Prioritise GHG reduction initiatives at source and not rely on schemes to offset GHG emissions;
  • Publish GHG reduction policies, strategies and action plans, with annual follow-up reporting on performance;
  • Address how reducing military expenditure and deployments, and altering military postures can reduce emissions;
  • Commit to incorporating climate and environmental assessments in decision-making for all procurement, activities and missions;
  • Highlight the relationship between climate change and environmental degradation, and demonstrate a commitment to reducing the overall environmental impact of all military activities and missions;
  • Commit to optimising the management of military lands to improve carbon sequestration and biodiversity;
  • Commit to increase climate and environmental training for decision makers, including on how militaries can mitigate climate change and environmental degradation;
  • Demonstrate leadership, openness and a willingness to collaborate and exchange information on good practice with non-military stakeholders;
  • Commit to allocating the appropriate resources to ensure all climate and environmental protection policies can be fully implemented.