New Briefing on NATO’s Climate Impact: A Must-Read

The Transnational Institute (TNI) published a critical briefing on July 8th, “Climate in the CrosshairsThe planetary impact of NATO’s spending increases” co-sponsored by the International Peace Bureau.

As NATO commemorates its 75th anniversary with a summit in Washington D.C., this briefing highlights the environmental repercussions of the alliance’s burgeoning military expenditures. Here are the main points covered in the briefing:

Key Findings:

Massive CO2 Emissions: NATO’s military spending in 2023, amounting to $1.34 trillion, generated an estimated 233 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), surpassing the annual greenhouse gas emissions of countries like Colombia or Qatar.

Increasing Carbon Footprint: The $126 billion increase in NATO’s military spending in 2023 is predicted to add an extra 31 million tCO2e, comparable to the annual emissions of approximately 6.7 million average US cars.

Unmet Climate Goals: Despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) urging a 43% reduction in emissions across all sectors by 2030, NATO’s military emissions rose by about 15% in 2023.

Climate Finance vs. Military Spending: NATO’s 2023 military expenditure could fund the minimal climate financing demanded by developing nations 13 times over, highlighting the misallocation of resources during a climate crisis.

Projected Emissions: If NATO members meet the 2% GDP military spending target by 2028, the collective military carbon footprint could reach 2 billion tCO2e, exceeding Russia’s annual emissions.

Challenges and Concerns:

Dependency on Fossil Fuels: Despite NATO’s acknowledgment of climate change as a critical issue, increased military spending on equipment, heavily reliant on fossil fuels, exacerbates emissions. For instance, the popular F-35 combat aircraft consumes significantly more fuel than its predecessor.

Arms Trade and Environmental Impact: NATO’s initiatives to support the arms industry promise lucrative profits for arms companies but push aside environmental regulations, further fueling global militarization and conflict amidst climate breakdown.

This briefing underscores the urgent need for NATO to reevaluate its spending priorities to address the climate crisis effectively.

For more detailed insights, you can read the full briefing on TNI website: