Wars Also Cause Climate Change

It’s not just us civilians.

But public discussion is focused on the civilian economy, because the carbon ‘bootprint’ of war is kept out of the analysis and Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The United States lobbied at the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to keep military emissions out. The greenhouse gases the global military emits are not counted.


“Is only the civilian economy responsible for climate change?

I think not!”    Dr. Rosalie Bertell

Yes: industrialized nations are responsible for far more climate change than less industrialized nations. We owe them a massive climate debt—which we are not paying. Our daily needs and wasteful consumer addictions emit mega-tonnes of CO2, other greenhouse gases, and deadly toxins into our planet’s atmosphere.

But how much do wars, and preparation for wars, add to the burden on our planet?

“Not only have carbon emissions increased for the past ten years, so too have military expenditures to a record high. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimated that global military spending was $839 billion in 2001 and rose to $1.6 trillion in 2011—a 92% increase.”

Demilitarization for Deep Decarbonization: Reducing Militarism and Military Expenditures to Invest in the UN Green Climate Fund and to Create Low-Carbon Economies and Resilient Communities.                                                                                                                   Tamara Lorincz, International Peace Bureau, 2014.                                          

In 2018 the global military economy spent $1.82 trillion of the world’s money on war: disaster and death.

Oil Change International estimates that in five years of war on Iraq the U.S. military emitted 100 million metric tonnes of CO2.

As people realize that the ‘bootprints’ of war are deliberately erased from the climate change picture, the human energy released will reach critical massw as we see vast new potential for easing our climate / survival crisis—and for finally ending the suffering and genocide that define human history.

So there’s no need to give in to ecological grief.   

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          No need to give up.

We are moving from feeling powerless, to creating change—together with billions of people around the world. Everyone has suffered too much from the inter-generational psychosis of endless war.

Together we can petition the United Nations: 

that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change include global military emissions in their analyses and Reports.


“We do have power. That’s the real top secret.”    

Daniel Ellsberg

What About Canada?

“From the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Greening Government web site: the chart, Figure 4: Trends in greenhouse gas emissions from federal organization, shows that:

among all federal departments, the Department of National Defence (DND) has the highest level of emissions at 544 kilotonnes of carbon equivalent.

Yet, those reported emissions are only from DND’s buildings and non-military vehicles used in Canada. The greenhouse gas emissions from military vehicles and operations at home and abroad are exempted from Canada’s GHG inventories and reduction targets.

For example, the climate impacts of the excessive fuel used by Canadian troops in Latvia, Poland and the Ukraine as they currently engage in war exercises on Russia’s borders are not counted.

Nor are the climate impacts calculated of the 65 million lbs of fuel that the Canadian Forces delivered to US-led coalition forces as they dropped over 100,000 bombs on Syria and Iraq over the past two years.

DND has disregarded not only the climate impacts, but the tragic civilian impacts of that bombing.

The truth is that we cannot decarbonize and avert catastrophic climate change if we do not demilitarize. This will require that we divert public spending away from the military and to a just, green and peaceful transition.

Time is running out. Let’s make demilitarization for decarbonization a federal election issue this year!

You can see here: https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/ypknzj/canada-still-doesnt-know-how-much-pollution-its-military-emits.  Tamara Lorincz, 2019 email.

Canada spent $28 billion on National Defence in 2015-16. That’s compared to $1.5 billion for the Environment and Climate Change, and $1.4 billion for Indigenous and Northern Affairs.  www.vice.com

Three years later we spend $37 billion on ‘defence’- 1.8 billion on Environment and Climate Change.

Canada is still warring with Indigenous Nations.

We maintain colonialism: claim their homelands and resources.  Refuse to respect the law on Aboriginal Title and Rights. Limit communities to tiny shreds of their territories. Abduct their children. Prevent them from using their own resources > legislated poverty; unhealthy housing. Devastate the habitat of their traditional food resources.            Racism: blame them. Ongoing genocide.

“Our most precious resource is the human spirit.”

    Sister Rosalie Bertell   


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