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Campaigners call out military ‘greenwashing’ at Cop26

by Bethany Rielly in Glasgow 

CAMPAIGNERS condemned military “greenwashing” at the Cop26 climate summit today, and demanded an end to the silence surrounding the defence industry’s role in climate chaos.

Armies are major emitters of greenhouse gases — the US military is the single largest institutional consumer of fossil fuels in the world — but they are exempt from compulsory carbon reporting rules and reduction targets. 

Addressing an event at the People’s Summit counter-conference in Glasgow, Iraq war veteran Ramon Mejia condemned talk of “greening” militaries at the UN event.

“Climate justice and militarism are incompatible,” said Mr Mejia, who is the founder of veteran peace group About Face. 

“This conference of the parties should be called ‘the conference of the profiteers,’ because they have no interest in solving the problem.”

Mr Mejia said that the only route to reducing militaries’ contribution to climate destruction is to shut down bases and move funding away from defence. 

But instead of reducing military investment in response to the crisis, some of the world’s richest nations are planning to expand their armies and further militarise their borders as part of so-called climate security plans, according to the Transnational Institute.

The research group’s Nick Buxton told an event last Sunday that seven of the world’s biggest carbon emitters “collectively spend at least twice as much on border enforcement than climate finance to the world’s poorest countries.”

Campaign Against Arms Trade is calling for the world’s militaries to be subject to full carbon reporting and reduction targets. 

“But this cannot simply mean ‘greener’ militaries — war is not sustainable, and decarbonising the military must go hand in hand with demilitarising the world,” the group’s research co-ordinator Dr Samuel Perlo-Freeman added.

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