Thursday, December 10, 2015

3 Elephants, 3 Monkeys and COP21

A tweet from the IEA on December 9, 2015 says that ‘without addressing the energy sector, we have zero chance of reaching our climate change goals”. In fact, with ignoring three big elephants we already have a zero chance! And people in COP21 are playing the three monkeys!

 The elephants are:

·         International Marine Bunkers

·         International Aviation Bunkers

·         Military Energy Use (Abroad)

 Aviation and maritime bunker fuels are not included in national emissions totals, hence excluded from emission reduction commitments.

 Emissions from aviation and marine bunkers were respectively 90% and 64% higher in 2013 than in 1990. In 2013, they represented 3.4% of the world’s CO2 emissions, according to the IEA. In absolute values, CO2 emissions from Int’l aviation and marine bunkers were 1099 Mt in 2013, equivalent to those of the African continent!

2015 Edition of the IEA’s CO2 EMISSIONS FROM FUEL COMBUSTION says” It is interesting to note that despite efforts to limit emissions from international transport, emissions from marine and aviation bunkers, 64% and 90% higher in 2013 than in 1990 respectively, grew even faster than those from road.” (Page 11). It will surely grow fast also in the future.

 Int’l Aviation and Maritime emissions were omitted from national commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which ceded control to the UN agencies responsible for the sectors, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). But their performance have long been criticised my many. The Clean Shipping Coalition has been calling on countries participating in the Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) to agree that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) should set targets and agree emissions reduction measures. See also,, The Elephants in the Room, and

In the latest COP21 draft climate agreement int’l aviation and shipping emissions do not appear.

According to a Reuters article: Officials from Europe, which has pushed particularly hard for a reference to the sectors, said they hadn't given up. "I don't know who got it out but we are fighting for it to be put back in," EU Energy and Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete told Reuters. He said not having shipping and aviation in the new text was a "a step backwards".

 Armed forces are large contributor to global greenhouse gases emissions

Let’s go back again to the IEA’s book on CO2 emissions statistics. It says: “The IEA has found that in practice most countries consider information on military consumption as confidential and therefore either combine it with other information or do not include it at all.” (Page 21).

I don’t know all the militaries but what I know is that the US military emissions abroad are exempt from national reporting requirements under U.S. law and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

 Many other people, except perhaps for those in COP21, know that too.

 The extensive global operations of the US military (wars, interventions, and secret operations on over one thousand bases around the world and six thousand facilities in the United States) are not counted against US greenhouse gas limits military emissions.

 In per capita bases, the US military is the largest emitter of Greenhouse Gases

Note: The data refers to 2012. OECD US military. OECD GHG emissions are from . The DOD GHG emissions are taken from the US DOE Comprehensive Annual Energy and Water Use Reports at The US military manpower (active duty and civilians) are taken from DMDC (sept 2012)

Most people will tell you that the US military energy consumption is only a tiny part of the overall US energy consumption. True, but in absolute values. In per capita bases? See the chart below, which compares the DOD GHG emissions with OECD countries, and tell me!


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