Thursday, June 30, 2022

British Farmers Reduce Production

 As many countries face the difficulties of food shortages and higher prices, according to the National Farmers' Union (NFU), are being forced to cut back on their food production.

A third of arable farmers told the NFU they're cutting back on crops for food.

Many are switching from growing wheat for bread to wheat for animal feed, as it uses less fertiliser. 

Fertiliser costs began to rise last autumn when the wholesale price of gas, which is needed to produce it, started to climb. The Ukraine conflict has made the situation worse, with sanctions hitting supplies from Russia, one of the world's biggest producers of some of the key ingredients in fertiliser.

Farming analysts the Andersons Centre track "agflation", which measures the rising costs faced by farmers. Their latest data shows agflation stood at 25.3% in May, compared to 9% CPI inflation and 8.5% CPI food inflation.

Pig farmers are also scaling back their production plans.  Fuel and pig feed price increases have hit farmers hard, with most producers unable to make a profit. The number of weeners - young pigs - has dropped by 23%. Many farmers are reducing their herds, or getting out of pig farming altogether.

Tom Allen, a farmer from Oxfordshire, who has seen the cost of animal feed double over the last year. "It's totally uneconomic." He has reduced his pig herd by a third, and has had to make a number of people redundant.

 One farmer told the BBC the food system in the UK is "broken".

Farmers cut food production as costs soar - BBC News

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

The Way Forward


The concentration of vast capital into the hands of a continually decreasing number of capitalists, accompanied by more efficient methods of production, swells to an enormous extent the wealth of this class. While, on the other hand, this development brings with it a more intense form of exploitation, greater insecurity, unemployment, and poverty of the wealth producers. The result is that, as capitalist society develops, the distinction between the two classes becomes wider and clearer; and the opposition of interest more intense. These facts are having a powerful influence on the minds of the workers, and are slowly but surely preparing them to accept the principles of socialism. Having progressed so far towards an understanding of their class position, they become less easy to deceive. Consequently the older political parties, who openly defend the present system of society, and claim that there is no alternative, can no longer command the support of an overwhelming majority of the workers as they did in the past. Hence the need, to the capitalist class, of a political party that can secure the support of this discontented section, by criticising the system, and when necessary expressing sympathy towards socialism, and that can, at the same time, be relied upon to maintain capitalist society. In face of the trials the workers experience in their struggle to live, such attempts to mislead them must fail. And as the system develops, the need for a change in the basis of society from the private ownership in the means of life to common ownership becomes more evident. When the majority of our class realise this simple fact, they will join with us in the fight to secure control of the political machinery and armed forces for the purpose of establishing what must be the one and only object of a working-class political party—socialism.


Global capitalism’s reaction to so-called natural disastershows the system in its true colours—greedy gold and bloody red.  The profit system provewoefully inadequate to deal humanely and effectively with such situations. These misfortunes are presented as unavoidable natural disasters. To some extent, this is true. But it ignores the difficult-to-quantify consequences of the deliberate pursuit of profit at the expense of environmental protection and conservation—the emission of poisonous gases, the destruction of forests and so on. The severity of the disasters is compounded by the fact that capitalism’s priority is to preserve and enhance the profit system, not to preserve and enhance human life. How would the consequences of natural disasters be dealt with in a socialist world? The frequency and severity of such events would be minimised by not damaging the environment in the pursuit of profit and not forcing people to live in areas that are prone to really unavoidable natural disasters. When a hurricane, earthquake or whatever did occur, help would be organised directly and immediately to meet the needs of the victims. No waiting around for funds to be set up, relief costs to be authorised, etc. No question of debt moratorium or cancellation to be considered—not debts would be created. Just the simple meeting of human needs. Is that too complex and unthinkable an idea to understand and act on?

The problem of evil in the world, the existence of wars, poverty, unemployment, crime, crises, etc., made it clear that no Supreme Being existed. Nor could it be claimed that evil, cruelty and barbarity are just man made, for barbarity exists among the animals. The cat plays with a mouse until it has been slowly tortured to death and the jungles are filled with ferocious beasts who live by tearing to pieces smaller and weaker animals. If God could make herbivore animals why not make them all like that instead of creating carnivorous ones. Everywhere the law of the jungle dominated human life under capitalism. It is possible to trace the evolution of the idea of God in primitive society, and now that we know the origin of the God idea, this cuts the ground from under the feet of the theist. The heavens no longer proclaim the glory Of God, nor does the firmament show his handiwork. God who could reveal himself at any moment has now to be searched for. The time has come to conduct God to the frontiers, thank him for his services, and ask him not to call again and trouble us with his diversions, as we wish to change the economic basis of society, and for this purpose do not need spirits, spooks or spectres (whether holy or otherwise). Instead of God creating man in his image, man had created his God or gods and always in his own image. The gods of the African tribes were black, with short black curly hair, and the gods of the Eskimos were fat and covered with thick furs.

Socialist Sonnet No. 72

Stock Clearance


Fired clay roofing tiles fired! Then walls tumble,

Consumers consumed, mall maladjusted

By special air delivery, busted

Businesses ignite, implode and crumble.

Strewn over fractured glass from blown shop fronts,

Manikins shattered, riven and disarmed,

A single stall standing charmed and unharmed

Amidst smoking rubble. Politicians’ punt

And everyone loses, even all those

Just taking orders, integrity

At knock down prices along with free

Offers of capitulation. War shows

The gloss of commerce and competition

 Sells death on credit, simple addition.


D. A.

Food and Customers

 Asparagus in winter, pears from Argentina, Peruvian blueberries and Californian almonds  these are just a few of the several thousand products shoppers can buy when they enter a supermarket.  

It's something our ancestors a century ago likely never imagined, but we've become used to this bounty of choice when we select our food.  

"It is truly peculiar to walk into a Carrefour Marche in France or Wal Mart here in the United States and see what's on offer," says Janet Chrzan, a nutritional anthropologist from the University of Pennsylvania. "We are living in a food environment which is unlike anything our species has ever encountered." 

German supermarkets carry more than 10,000 products on their shelves. In the US, it is more than 30,000. Climate scientists say change, including moderating our diets, is exactly what's needed to bring down greenhouse gas emissions from food. That means eating less red meat and more plant-based foods. Opting for seasonal produce rather than buying, say, strawberries in winter can also make a difference.

Food production accounts for around a quarter of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Most of that comes from meat and dairy, which contribute almost 15% of global emissions. Producing food also causes other problems, such as pollution, biodiversity loss, contamination of soils and water shortages.  

Food consumption has been increasing worldwide for decades. High-income countries, including the US and Germany, take in the most calories per capita. At the same time, the UN estimates that households globally throw away 11% of the total food available for consumption, although this statistic does not include low-income countries. 

When faced with an abundance of choice in the grocery store, consumers tend to make decisions that are quick and based on habit. Our consumer behavior is notoriously difficult to change because food choices and eating patterns are so embedded in the way we live.

Stefan Wahlen, a food sociologist at the University of Giessen in Germany, says despite small blips, people tend to eat the same food 95% of the time.  

"You live in your routines, and even though you might be trying some new foodstuff, there's little variation in what we actually eat," he says, adding that these routines help us in "coping with the complexity of our daily lives." 

Two-thirds of consumers in the study by the Brussels-based European Consumer Organization said they were open to changing their eating habits for environmental reasons, with many willing to reduce food waste at home, buy more seasonal fruit and veggies and eat more plant-based foods. But only one in five were willing to spend more money for sustainable food.

It can also be complicated for consumers to know which foods are ecologically sustainable, given that most products don't display their carbon footprints or how much land and water went into producing them.

Food consumerism: What′s stopping the switch to a climate-friendly diet? | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | 29.06.2022

Fact of the Day

  306,887 civilians are estimated to have been killed in Syria between March 1, 2011 and March 31, 2021 because of the conflict.

The figures released by the UN do not include soldiers and fighters killed in the conflict; their numbers are believed to be in the tens of thousands. The numbers also do not include people who were killed and buried by their families without notifying authorities.

More than 300,000 civilians killed in Syrian conflict: UN report | News | Al Jazeera

Another Under-Reported Disaster

 Record-breaking floods in the north-eastern region of the country of Bangladesh have wreaked havoc as an estimated 7.2 million people have been affected and are in desperate need of shelter and emergency relief.

The highest amount of rainfall in decades has led to the overflowing of large river systems running between India and Bangladesh and completely swallowing surrounding areas.

Bangladesh Red Crescent Society Secretary General Kazi Shofiqul Azam said: “We have never seen this sort of flooding in our living memories in that region."

 Many blame climate change for the floods affecting several million across the country.

Millions in Bangladesh impacted by one of the worst floodings ever seen - Bangladesh | ReliefWeb

G-7 Food Aid Inadequate

 The G-7 leaders have promised Ukraine over $31.6 billion in budgetary and humanitarian support. 

Yet despite the ever-growing global hunger crisis, intensified by fallout from the war, the G7  said it would provide only an additional $4.5 billion, amounting to a total of over $14bn for hunger relief. 

 $2 billion will be to directed toward emergency interventions, $760 million will be used for sustainable near-term food assistance to help mitigate poverty, hunger and malnutrition in vulnerable countries that are affected by high food prices, fertilizer and fuel. The investments aim to support efforts in more than 47 countries and regional organizations by tackling fertilizer shortages and purchasing resilient seeds.

NGOs have described the results of a summit of G7 as inadequate, with Oxfam Germany explaining the  summit declarations are "intended to distract from the historic failure of the G7," to prevent growing food insecurity.

"The $4.5 billion pledged is far too little to end the global food crisis and prevent people from continuing to go hungry," Charlotte Becker, advocacy and campaign director at Oxfam, said in a statement. "At least an additional $28 billion is needed to end hunger and fund the United Nations' appeals for help."

It failed to include any debt relief for affected low- and middle-income countries. For every dollar of aid money, two dollars would have to be paid to creditors.

 G7 disappoints on energy and food crises | Business | Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 28.06.2022

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Another Summer School Session

 Details of another Summer School session:

Class or Classless Society?
Hosted by Ste Finch and Paddy Shannon

An interactive session to help develop ways to put the case against class society and in favour of a classless socialist world. What are the most effective approaches when explaining the class divide, particularly when speaking with others? What aspects of the class struggle are easiest to relate, and relate to? And how best can we promote the idea of a class-free society? This workshop is an opportunity to brush up on your debating skills and hear what others have to say.

Full residential cost (including accommodation and meals Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) is £100; the concessionary rate is £50. 

Book online here or send a cheque (payable to the Socialist Party of Great Britain) with your contact details to Summer School, The Socialist Party, 52 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7UN. 

Day visitors are welcome, but please book by e-mail in advance. E-mail enquiries to

The right to life ends at birth

 The Supreme Court has been throwing its weight around lately. Not content with sabotaging legislative attempts to restrict access to mass-murder weapons, it has now overturned Roe v. Wade (1973), which established a legal right to abortion.

For most, although not all of its existence, the Supreme Court has played a reactionary role in American society. Indeed, it is one of the mechanisms – the Electoral College is another – that the Founding Fathers created for the express purpose of weakening the democratic elements in the Constitution. That is why an effort to democratize the Constitution may have to precede the establishment of socialism in the United States. 

It seems puzzling that people who claim to care so much for the ‘right to life’ of the fetus should so stubbornly uphold the right to buy and bear firearms designed to kill lots of people very fast. Their motto, I suppose, is: the right to life ends at birth.

Abortions will continue whatever the law may say. Making them illegal has never stopped them and never will stop them. 

Remarkably, the Guttmacher Institute has shown that the abortion rate in the US was higher when in most states abortion was illegal.

David French, writing in the June 2022 issue of The Atlantic, cites this fact, but avoids drawing the obvious conclusion that criminalizing abortion is pointless or even counterproductive. He still favors ‘legal protections for unborn life’ – a pretty phrase that obscures the ugly reality of desperate women, together with the physicians and nurses who try to help them, being arrested and dragged off to jail.  

According to medical specialists, of the 42 million women who have abortions worldwide each year 20 million have abortions that are illegal and therefore especially unsafe (there are risks even in legal abortions).

How are illegal abortions performed? 

"Methods of unsafe abortion include drinking toxic fluids such as turpentine, bleach, or drinkable concoctions mixed with livestock manure. Other methods involve inflicting direct injury to the vagina or elsewhere—for example, inserting herbal preparations into the vagina or cervix; placing a foreign body such as a twig, coat hanger, or chicken bone into the uterus; or placing inappropriate medication into the vagina or rectum. Unskilled providers also perform dilation and curettage in unhygienic settings, causing uterine perforations and infections. Methods of external injury are also used, such as jumping from the top of stairs or a roof, or inflicting blunt trauma to the abdomen."

Some 68,000 die as a result, the main causes of death being ‘hemorrhage, infection, sepsis, genital trauma, and necrotic bowel.’ Five million suffer long-term health complications, which ‘include poor wound healing, infertility, consequences of internal organ injury (urinary and stool incontinence from vesicovaginal or rectovaginal fistulas), and bowel resections.’

So the issue is not: abortion yes or no? The issue is under what conditions abortions will be performed. By qualified physicians In hygienic clinics? Or in back streets, with resort to all sorts of desperate and dangerous methods? 

Most people admit that abortion is an abhorrent procedure, not to be undertaken lightly. However, making it a crime does much more harm than good. This is one of many social problems that cannot be solved by punishing people. 

In a socialist society, abortion will be a rare event. On the one hand, there will be free access to a wide variety of safe, effective, and unobtrusive contraceptives for both sexes. On the other hand, people will no longer be forced to prevent births because they cannot afford to take care of another child. A few abortions will continue to be performed for health or other reasons. 

Stephen Shenfield

World Socialist Party of the United States

The right to life ends at birth – World Socialist Party US (

Fact of the Day

  Foods currently lost and wasted could feed around 1.26 billion people per year.

Population Scares

 The population of England and Wales has hit a historic high of 59,597,300, an 6.3% increase on the 2011 figure of 56,075,912 – an extra 3.5 million people. It means the wider UK population is almost 67 million, once census results published last month for Northern Ireland, showing a population of 1.9 million, and the latest estimate for Scotland, of 5.47 million, are added in. 

The total is on course to break the 70 million mark in the next five years, but population growth has decreased slightly over the last decade. Under-15s make up a declining proportion of the population, and at 10.4 million have been overtaken in numbers by the over-65s in the last decade.

With 434 residents per square kilometre, England now ranks as the second-most densely populated country in Europe after the Netherlands (507 persons per sq km).

Present and projected increases in the population only pose a problem under the conditions imposed by capitalist society—the laws of profit first and can’t pay, can’t have. 

Capitalism is not only a system of artificial scarcity, it is also a system of organised waste. Countless millions of workers are to be found in the armed forces, many more in the security and law and order business, with many times that number employed in the field of commerce and finance.

The problem becomes not one of feeding the growing population, but of organising production and distribution on a rational basis. While we can expect the Malthusian prophets of doom to remind us that every new child means an extra mouth to feed, they will neglect to add that it also means an extra pair of hands, an extra brain, capable of contributing to the common good. It is no state secret that production is not primarily produced to satisfy needs. It is produced for the market and with a view to making profits.

Socialist society will ensure that the resources of the Earth are used in a manner that ensures every man, woman and child is adequately fed, cared for and housed—something capitalism has never been capable of overseeing.

Fertiliser Shortage

 Fertiliser - the key ingredient needed to help crops grow - is in short supply across the world. Global prices have also sky-rocketed in part because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia, which is under Western sanctions, produces large amounts of potash, ammonia and urea. These are the three key ingredients needed to make chemical fertiliser. Russia exports around 20% of the world's nitrogen fertilisers and combined with its sanctioned ally Belarus, 40% of the world's exported potassium

The amount of fertiliser available globally has almost halved, while the cost of some types of fertilizer have nearly tripled over the past 12 months, according to the United Nations. 

That is having a knock-on effect in countries where farmers are dependent on imported fertiliser. The crisis has left many African countries, which are heavily dependent on foreign imports, scrambling to find solutions.

The short supply will inevitably impact crop yields, particularly for wheat which requires a lot of fertiliser and is essential for feeding millions.

The World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that the fertiliser shortage could push an additional seven million people into food scarcity.

They say that cereal production in 2022 will decline to about 38 million tonnes, from the previous year's output of over 45 million tonnes.

Fertiliser shortage hits African farmers battling food crisis - BBC News

Monday, June 27, 2022

Fact of the Day

  In Georgia and Mississippi, Black women are more than twice as likely to die in pregnancy as white women.

Fuel or Food?

 A significant proportion of the petrol and diesel which British drivers put into their cars comes from biofuels – these include vegetable oils from plants such as oilseed rape, wheat and sugar beet. The UK biofuel industry is an industry supplying 293 million litres in 2020.

A new report by thinktank Green Alliance has said ending biofuel use in the UK would free up space to grow food for 3.5 million people.  The huge area of land used to grow crops which go to be vehicle fuel could return to food production instead. Plant biomass production uses nearly three-quarters as much land as the entire UK potato industry and is a “strong factor” in rising food prices in the UK due to increased competition for land.

Biofuels have previously been touted as a solution to the climate crisis, but the analysis said their emission-cutting impact "has proven minimal, and in some cases, even worse than fossil fuels". This is because burning biomass still produces greenhouse emissions in much the same way burning fossil fuels does. This is on top of the stored carbon released into the atmosphere when land is repurposed for biofuel production.

Almuth Ernsting, co-director of campaign group BiofuelWatch said, "Ending the use of food to make biofuels would immediately relieve food prices and protect millions from going without enough food..."

Ending use of UK-grown biofuels in petrol could feed 3.5 million people, says think tank | The Independent

Greta Addresses Glastonbury


Greta Thunberg has warned that the world faces “total natural catastrophe” unless citizens take urgent action.

Thunberg said: “We are approaching the precipice and I would strongly suggest that all of those who have not yet been greenwashed out of our senses to stand our ground.

“Do you not let them drag us another inch closer to the edge. Right now is where we stand our ground.”

Thunberg blamed world leaders for failing to halt the climate emergency and for creating “loopholes” that allow ecological destruction to go unchecked.

“It has not only become acceptable for leaders to lie – it’s almost what we expect them to do,” she said.

She said it was time for society to start “creating hope” rather than waiting for it to arrive: “Hope is not something that is given to you. It is something you have to earn, to create. It cannot be gained passively from standing by passively and waiting for someone else to do something.

“It is taking action. It is stepping outside your comfort zone. And if a bunch of school kids were able to get millions of people on the streets and start changing their lives, just imagine what we could all do together if we try.”

Thunberg urged festivalgoers to “do the seemingly impossible” by helping to halt global warming before it is too late.

She added: “These crises are the biggest story in the world. And it must be spoken as far and as wide as possible, as far as our voices can carry and even further still. It must be told in the articles, newspapers, movies and songs; at breakfast tables, lunch meetings, family gatherings; in lifts and bus stops; and in rural shops … and music festivals like Glastonbury.”

She then led chants of “climate … justice” after delivering the speech.

War in Ukraine — enough!


Recent results of military operations are mixed for both sides.

In the East, the occupation of Severodonetsk gives Russian forces control over 90% of Lugansk Province. Presumably, they will now target the western half of Donetsk Province in order to complete their conquest of the Donbas.

In the Southeast, the Russian army has finally completed its capture of Mariupol. There is a shortage of fresh water in the city. An outbreak of cholera is feared.

In the Southwest, by contrast, Ukrainian troops mounted a successful defense of Mykolaiv and are advancing back toward Kherson. Russian supply lines are extended in this area, while Ukrainian supply lines are relatively short. It is now doubtful whether Russian forces will be able to achieve the objective of cutting Ukraine off from the whole of the Black Sea coast.

The war of attrition may slowly be moving toward a stalemate, with each side in firm control of those areas where it is in the stronger position. Let us hope this is so, because a stalemate gives the best chance of a ceasefire and serious negotiations. 

However, this prospect is threatened by the massive flow of arms from the West, which now include heavy artillery, tanks, drones, and even planes. It is unclear whether the Ukrainian army can make effective use of all this weaponry. However that may be, it kindles the unrealistic hope of driving Russian troops out of the whole of Ukraine and thereby prolongs the war. In passing the funds to arm Ukraine with more powerful weapons, Congress voted for precisely that — to prolong the war.

But this is madness. For Ukraine a longer war means yet more territory reduced to a wasteland, thousands more young men and women (for women are now fighting too) killed and maimed, millions more refugees, and the onset of plague and famine. What sort of ‘friends’ are they who would subject Ukraine to such calamities? 

For the world, a longer war means a continuing and growing risk of escalation to nuclear Armageddon. Let us always keep in mind that the current situation is unprecedented. Never have Russia and NATO been so close to direct hostilities. 

There are several ways in which these could break out at any time. One is a confrontation or collision between naval and/or air forces in the Black or Baltic Sea or in the airspace above them. Such incidents have occurred in the past. 

Or Russia might attack a column of trucks, a train, or a plane delivering arms to Ukraine. Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov has warned that Russia will regard arms ‘convoys’ into Ukraine as ‘legitimate targets.’

Another flashpoint is the Kaliningrad exclave, a province of Russia separated from the rest of the country by territory belonging to other states – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus (see Map). The first three are members of NATO and the EU. Since June 18, Lithuania — in accordance with EU sanctions against Russia – has not allowed trains and trucks bound for Kaliningrad to cross its territory if they are carrying certain kinds of goods (such as alcohol, metals, timber, glass, cement, and fertilizer). These goods now have to be supplied by sea from St. Petersburg. In winter this will be more difficult and expensive. Analysts fear that Russia may try to open up a transit corridor by force. NATO would have to respond to such a violation of the sovereignty of a member state. 

With regard to the war in Ukraine, it does not matter to us which state will control this or that piece of real estate. We have only one demand — that the war should end without delay. Enough is enough! Stop fighting! Cease fire! Of course, certain measures will be required to enforce the ceasefire – disengagement zones, deployment of peacekeeping forces, and so on. The international community has the necessary experience in these matters. 

Stephen Shenfield

World Socialist Party of the United States

War in Ukraine — enough! – World Socialist Party US (

Critisticuffs on the Ukrainian War

 Critisticuffs (the German group “Against Capital and Nation) has produced a detailed analysis of the current conflict between Russia and the US.

Here is the conclusion

“For Russia and the US, what they are and claim to be as nations is at stake: for the one, its “historical future as a nation”, its status as a great power and respected subject in the world of states; for the other, its “unrivalled power”, its unrestricted world domination. Their positions are irreconcilable. They do not tolerate any relativisation, because that would be tantamount to abandoning their posited standpoint.

For both sides, the assertion of their own position, therefore, has the quality of an existential question that must be brought to a decision, a “matter of life and death” and or a matter of the highest principles – “prosperity and security” – respectively.

And so they go at each other. They both use deterrence and threats to impress the other side into accepting their demands and escalate the use of their means of destruction when this fails. They know full well what destruction the other side can bring to the battlefield, and how widely it can define this battlefield. They both insist on their dominance of escalation, their ability to up the ante in response to an escalation of the other side. For now, Russia made the transition to an all out war against Ukraine and kills people in that country to preserve its status as a great power. The superior American side, for now, does not want to get directly involved with its military – indeed it seems increasingly frustrated that it has to take attention away from its rising (economic and thus future military) rival China. For now, America is content with letting Ukrainians fight and die – for their fatherland and the rule-based order that the US implemented after the Second World War. But America’s restraint is nothing but the decision to postpone an escalation to the point when it feels its status as the one superpower in the world is sufficiently threatened.

Only an idiot would support either of these programmes.”

The WSM can only concur with the above.

Exploiting the Sea-Bed (video)


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Armies and Climate Change


While the idea of wars for oil are not new, climate change is adding another dimension to the link between militaries and fossil fuels. Massive global military carbon emissions often go unreported. The billions of dollars' worth of weapons, jets, tanks and trucks that drive the grinding conflict contribute direct emissions that, amid the fog of battle, remain difficult to quantify — and which are not accounted for in the Paris target of limiting heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit).

Axel Michaelowa, senior founding partner of German-based climate consultancy, Perspectives Climate Group, is the lead author of a report, released during last week's climate conference in Bonn, Germany, that highlights the need to better declare and account for military and conflict-related emissions. It shows that military operation emissions in peacetime and war are only partially known, and that no one is taking responsibility for them in the context of the UN climate goals.

"Given that military emissions can reach hundreds of million tonnes of CO2 per year," nations need to "address more transparently" the direct and indirect climate impacts of war, said Michaelowa.

The expected emissions from rebuilding cities destroyed in the Syrian war are equal to the annual greenhouse gas output of Switzerland, notes Michealowa.

Militaries around the world have for decades been concerned that a growing climate crisis will be the key trigger of future conflict, yet they have done little to address their role in exacerbating global heating through fossil fuel burning. Countries have shown little interest in reining in such outsized military emissions.

The European Union, which collectively has the second-largest armed force, only reports some emissions due to national security concerns — indirect emissions generated by the production of military equipment and weapons, for example, are not included. According to a 2021 report by The Conflict and Environment Observatory (CEOBS), a UK-based monitoring group, UK military emissions alone are at least three times higher than the 11 million tons of CO2 reported in 2018.

While the annual emissions from the US military, the world's largest, are higher than Sweden or Denmark when properly counted, researchers have said. Emitting around 23.5 thousand kilotons of CO2 in 2017, the US war machine is itself estimated to be the single biggest institutional consumer of hydrocarbons on the planet.

Doug Weir, research and policy director at The Conflict and Environment Observatory, refers to the way the conflict has exposed "energy insecurity" and dependence on fossil fuels. Weir noted that military budgets are also often focused on securing fossil fuel supplies, including in Libya where the decadelong conflict has slowed oil production to a trickle. Between 2018 and 2021, Italy, Spain and Germany have spent more than €4 billion on missions that aim to preserve oil and gas supply.

For Stuart Parkinson, a researcher at Scientists for Global Responsibility and a military emissions expert, any war spending is tied up with fossil fuels — including in Ukraine.

"Military spending is carbon intensive because of the fossil-fuel dependence of the military," he said, noting that Russia and Ukraine together accounted for around 3.5% of the $2.1 trillion global total military spend before the war, but that Ukraine has since been given $19 billion in military aid from the US alone. A least eight NATO countries are planning to increase military budgets due to the war, with Germany announcing a €100 billion increase, said Parkinson.

"The increase in military spending will impact on the total military carbon footprint on top of the massive emissions from the war directly," he said.

If compulsory accounting of military emissions could threaten a country's ability to meet its climate targets, "this could have a deterrent effect on aggression," said Axel Michaelowa. "If we have a world that is built on renewable, decentralized energy, there will be less funds for those who want to invade their neighbors,"

Ukraine war threatens climate targets | Environment | All topics from climate change to conservation | DW | 23.06.2022