"Decarbonizing is Demilitarizing": Centre Delas launch new campaign

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The "Decarbonizing is Demilitarizing" logo

"Decarbonizing is Demilitarizing" is an initiative of Centre Delàs of Peace Studies (a War Resisters’ International affiliate), Ecologistas en Acción and Extinction Rebellion Barcelona, and seeks to strengthen the links between pacifist, ecological, feminist and global justice movements by shedding light on the multiple interconnections between militarism and the climate crisis. 

Their manifesto - which you can find below - has been so far endorsed by over 40 Spanish organizations and made public on June 13, at the campaign launch. 

Campaign manifesto

The scientific community has long advocated the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avert the rise in the Earth’s average temperature. Yet, past COP meetings have failed to include the military sector in mandatory reductions of GHG emissions. Information regarding military GHG emissions (and its reduction altogether) was exempt from the Kyoto Agreement of 1997. The Paris Agreement (2015) removed this exemption, allowing countries to make reports on a voluntary basis and to decide on reduction measures independently.

GHG emissions from the military sector are, nonetheless, significant. Although no comprehensive record exists of these emissions from the armed forces, and despite data from the military industry being typically imperfect or incomplete, it is estimated that GHG emissions from the military sector (armed forces and military industry) account for 55% of global emissions, similar to those of commercial aviation.

According to the European Climate Regulation, EU countries must reduce GHG emissions by at least 55% between 1990 and 2030, if they want to reach a net zero target by 2050. 

In the case of Spain, Law 7/2021 on climate change and energy transition seeks a 23% reduction of GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This law excludes all activities, installations, equipment, and armament aimed at protecting essential National Defense and Public Security interests.

The emissions of the Armed Forces in Spain are largely unknown, while data from the military industry is either incomplete or non-existent. But GHG emissions from both must be accounted for in total emissions and actively reduced. Otherwise, net zero emissions will remain an illusion, even if other economic sectors do achieve their targets. Additionally, in order to implement and monitor reduction measures effectively, these emissions must be accurately reported.

Spain's National Security Strategy and National Defense Directive identified climate change as a potential source of threat to national security, with for example climate migrations and growing resource scarcity posing risks to energy security. They stated that these dangers must be addressed, included through military means if necessary. Recent documents from the EU and NATO have also voiced the same.

For all these reasons, we ask the Spanish Government to:

  1. Report on the Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the Spanish Armed Forces.
  2. Require companies in the defense and security sector to declare GHG emissions related to the manufacturing of arms and those related to general defense material separately.
  3. Include GHG Emissions associated with the armed forces and the arms industry in the reports shared with various international bodies.
  4. Promote an agreement among states at future COP meetings to make it mandatory to report (and reduce) GHG emissions from the military sector: armed forces and armament industry.
  5. Redirect resources aimed at protecting against climate migrations and energy insecurity towards promoting social and environmental justice.
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