Broad-Based Coalition Urges Federal Contractor Climate Disclosure Requirements To Close the Military Emissions Reporting Gap

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Center for International Policy joined 22 foreign policy, climate and grassroots organizations calling on Biden administration officials to urgently finalize the proposed Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule to establish standardized greenhouse gas and climate-risk reporting regulations for federal contractors, including military contractors.

“Improving emissions reporting is widely supported – the Department of Defense itself is one of the three federal agencies who proposed the new requirements,” said CIP’s Climate and Militarism Program Director Hanna Homestead. “While more must be done to decarbonize and demilitarize US foreign policy, the proposed rule is an important first step towards accounting for and mitigating the military’s climate impact.”

Amid growing concerns about the unfolding climate crisis from the public, frontline communities, and cross-cutting experts, significant gaps in information about how US government contractors contribute to the problem prevent accountability and actionable solutions.

“A key way the US government can protect national security is to stop funding corporations driving the climate crisis without accountability,” added Homestead. We cannot address climate change – our greatest collective global threat — as long as defense contractors are allowed to pollute with impunity, contributing to the very instability we say we wish to solve.” 

The United States has contributed the largest share of global greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change today. While military contractors receive the bulk of federal procurement spending and emit more carbon pollution than the Pentagon, they are not currently required to comprehensively report on their carbon footprints.  

Download the letter here (with citations). Text of the letter is below.

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March 26, 2024

The Honorable Bill Nelson
Administrator
NASA
300 Hidden Figures Way SW
Washington, DC 20546

The Honorable Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000

The Honorable Robin Carnahan
Administrator
General Services Administration
1800 F Street NW
Washington, DC 20405

Dear Secretary Austin, Administrator Carnahan, and Administrator Nelson,

We write on behalf of a diverse coalition of foreign policy, peace, and grassroots organizations to express our strong support for finalizing the proposed Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule in a timely manner. This rule will establish a solid foundation to inform and strengthen the federal government’s carbon emissions mitigation efforts in line with President Biden’s whole-of-government effort to combat the climate crisis. We applaud your efforts to improve federal contractor transparency, taxpayer oversight, and national and global security by prioritizing effective, publicly-supported action to address the climate crisis. In keeping with your proposal, we look forward to seeing this rule finalized expeditiously.

The adverse effects of climate change, which are already being felt, pose significant challenges to national and global security. According to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, “Today, no nation can find lasting security without addressing the climate crisis. We face all kinds of threats in our line of work, but few of them truly deserve to be called existential. The climate crisis does.” To avoid the worst effects of a warming planet, the consensus within scientific and security communities is clear: we must take urgent action to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, the ultimate drivers of climate change.

The proposed Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule would advance this goal by requiring the largest federal contractors to disclose their Scope 1, 2, and 3 greenhouse gas emissions, their climate-related risk assessments, and their science-based emissions reduction targets. Improved disclosure and standardization of greenhouse gas emissions reporting is critical to mitigating the federal government’s carbon footprint, and military emissions in particular. The Pentagon is the world’s largest oil consumer, accounting for approximately 80 percent of federal energy use. The top defense contractors, together, are estimated to emit even more carbon pollution than the Pentagon but are not currently required to comprehensively disclose their emissions. Defense contractors are also the largest recipients of federal procurement spending – totaling more than $466 billion in 2023., While greater action must be taken to reduce the military’s overall ecological impact, closing the gap in military emissions reporting is a critical first step to adopting a meaningful climate change mitigation strategy for a more secure and resilient future.

In addition to the Pentagon’s own interests in tracking and reducing greenhouse gas emissions among defense contractors, the American public overwhelmingly supports greater climate action. Two-thirds of adults say large businesses and corporations are doing too little to reduce the effects of climate change and 56 percent believe federal government action on climate change is insufficient. Accordingly, public comments on the Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule were overwhelmingly positive. Diverse comments from the private and public sectors show that the proposed rule will help the federal government address informational gaps on climate-related financial risk and plan against threats to economic and national security posed by global warming. The comments highlight the rule’s long-run cost savings for taxpayers and the perils of ignoring the environmental transition risks of climate change in the federal procurement process. Attorneys general from 17 states and the District of Columbia, as well as legal experts in academia and various non-governmental organizations, affirm the rule’s strong legal basis. In contrast, opposition to the rule is being driven primarily by corporations and trade associations representing carbon-intensive industries, including the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, who face reputational risks from enhanced climate disclosure requirements. We must not allow these firms to further jeopardize our collective health and security in order to maintain their own short-sighted profitability.

The fossil fuel and defense industries should not overrule public interest, scientific consensus, and security expertise by dictating government policy. Contractors who seek lucrative deals with government agencies must advance our climate, economic, and national security interests – not undermine them. This rule signifies progress towards achieving President Biden’s goal of reaching a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, in keeping with the Paris Agreement, and the Administration’s commitment to “meeting the moment” by taking urgent action to address the climate crisis both at home and abroad., We therefore urge you to finalize and publish the Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule in a timely manner.

Signed,

350.org
American Friends Service Committee
Center for International Policy
Climate Crisis & Militarism Project, Veterans For Peace
Climate Generation
Climate Hawks Vote
Common Defense
Elders Climate Action
Foreign Policy for America
Foreign Policy In Focus
Freedom Forward
Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc.
MADRE
MPower Change
National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies
Presente.org
RootsAction.org
Sierra Club
The People’s Justice Council
Union of Concerned Scientists
Veterans For Peace
Win Without War
Women for Weapons Trade Transparency

CIP joins NGO letter urging Biden to comply with 602I in Gaza

Today, more than 25 humanitarian and rights groups sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to reevaluate unconditional arms transfers and other security assistance to Israel in compliance with existing US law, which prohibits the United States from providing security assistance or arms sales to any country when the President is made aware that the government “prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.”

“President Biden has rightly made the rule of law and its impartial application central tenets of his administration. He must adhere to the standard he set and follow the law with regard to Israel’s restricting of critical aid to Gaza, rather than continuing to make an exception for it,” urged Dylan Williams, Vice President for Government Affairs at the Center for International Policy.

March 12, 2024

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Biden,

We write to express our deep concern regarding continued U.S. security assistance to Israel despite Israeli restrictions on humanitarian aid, an apparent violation of U.S. law. We demand that you urgently comply with U.S. law and end U.S. support for catastrophic human suffering in Gaza.

On March 2, the United States began its first airdrops of humanitarian aid into Gaza – a risky, expensive, and ineffective method for assisting civilians that is widely considered an option of last resort. On March 7, your administration announced that it would build a floating pier along the Gaza coast to bring aid to the population. Both efforts are the latest implicit recognition of Israel’s severe restrictions on humanitarian access amid extraordinary human suffering. Your administration has now publicly recognized what humanitarian organizations have reported for months: that the government of Israel is obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid to starving Palestinians.

Gaza’s health ministry reports that more than 30,000 Palestinians – at least two-thirds of them women and children – have been killed in Gaza and over 70,000 wounded, with thousands more estimated to be buried under the rubble. Over 90 percent of people in Gaza are acutely food insecure, with a growing number of children dying of starvation and dehydration. Over 75 percent of Gaza’s population is already displaced, and the level of damage to shelter and infrastructure means people increasingly have nowhere safe to go nor reliable provisions if and when they move. As civilians face bombardment, disease, and starvation, lifesaving health care is increasingly inaccessible.

The United States is a leading donor of the humanitarian response in Gaza. Secretary Blinken has called on Israel to “maximize every possible means” to get aid to Gazans, noting that “the situation, as it stands, is simply unacceptable.” And you have rightly said you will accept “no more excuses” for continued obstacles to aid. But since October 7, the government of Israel has failed to facilitate the entry of sufficient humanitarian aid, including through additional border crossings into Gaza and northern Gaza in particular; blocked the entry of many humanitarian aid trucks; denied humanitarian access requests; enforced arbitrary customs restrictions on humanitarian goods; and attacked humanitarian workers and their facilities as well as civilians seeking aid. Longtime U.S. implementing partners around the world have come under attack in Gaza, and lifesaving U.S.-funded humanitarian aid has been blocked from entering Gaza. Just last week, hours after your State of the Union address, an Israeli airstrike on a housing complex hosting displaced people killed a humanitarian aid worker employed by a US-based NGO.

These restrictions are not isolated instances but the policy of the government of Israel: as Prime Minister Netanyahu stated clearly on October 18, “We will not allow humanitarian assistance in the form of food and medicines from our territory to the Gaza Strip.” While Israel has subsequently allowed some aid into Gaza, it remains far from sufficient – a fact that Netanyahu confirmed when he stated in January that Israel was only allowing a “minimum” amount of relief into Gaza. During your own State of the Union address, you implicitly acknowledged that Israel was using humanitarian aid as a bargaining chip. Human Rights Watch and Oxfam have determined that the Israeli government is committing a war crime by using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to provide Israel with unconditional arms transfers and other security assistance. This not only facilitates Israel’s harmful conduct, but also appears to violate Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act (22 U.S.C. § 2378–1), which prohibits the United States from providing security assistance or arms sales to any country when the President is made aware that the government “prohibits or otherwise restricts, directly or indirectly, the transport or delivery of United States humanitarian assistance.”

U.S. weapons, security assistance, and blanket political support have contributed to an unparalleled humanitarian crisis and possible war crimes in Gaza. We demand that you urgently comply with U.S. law, end U.S. support for catastrophic human suffering in Gaza, and use your leverage to protect civilians and ensure the impartial provision of humanitarian assistance.

Signed,

Airwars
American Friends Service Committee
Amnesty International USA
Anera
Arms Control Association
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
Center for International Policy
Charity & Security Network
Demand Progress Education Fund
Foreign Policy for America
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Human Rights Watch
Humanity & Inclusion
MADRE
Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC)
MPower Change
Norwegian Refugee Council USA
Oxfam America
PAX
Peace Action
Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
Refugees International
U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights Action (USCPR Action)
Win Without War
Zomia Center

National Coalition Urges President Biden to Restore UNRWA Funding to Aid Palestinians

Nearly four months of conflict have devastated Gaza’s infrastructure and dangerously reduced essential supplies like food, water, and medicine. Hundreds of thousands of civilians—the vast majority of them children and women—are now displaced and at grave risk of starvation and deadly disease.

This week, a coalition of more than 50 national organizations sent a letter to President Biden urging him to support the protection of civilians in the conflict in the Occupied Gaza Strip by restoring funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The letter was organized by the Friends Committee on National Legislation and the Center for International Policy. Over 50 national groups representing millions of Americans signed it, including Americans for Peace Now, Center for Civilians in Conflict, Humanity & Inclusion, MADRE, Amnesty International USA, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, Demand Progress Education Fund, National Council of Churches, and Win Without War.

 


Mr. President:

We are non-governmental organizations supporting the protection of civilians in the conflict in the Occupied Gaza Strip and writing to urge you to restore funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

After nearly four months of conflict which has devastated Gaza’s infrastructure and dangerously reduced essential supplies, hundreds of thousands of civilians – the vast majority of them children and women – are displaced and at grave risk of starvation and deadly disease. UNRWA is the most significant direct provider of humanitarian aid in the territory, with more than two million Palestinian civilians relying on it for critical necessities and services. UNRWA and its staff have gone to heroic lengths to continue aid operations even after catastrophic damage to many of its facilities and the death of more than 150 of their colleagues since the start of the current hostilities.

Twelve individuals among the 13,000 people UNRWA employed in the territory at the start of the current fighting are accused of taking part in Hamas’ October 7, 2023 attack on Israel. UNRWA, which has categorically and repeatedly condemned the attack, swiftly terminated the contracts of those accused. UNRWA’s Commissioner-General has requested the investigation of these employees be overseen by the highest investigative authority at the UN, while the UN Secretary General made it clear the Secretariat will cooperate with a competent authority to prosecute the individuals. This is in addition to UNRWA’s January 17, 2024 announcement that it is commissioning an independent review of staff guidelines and procedures to ensure that all staff adhere to humanitarian principles.

Continuing to suspend assistance to UNRWA for the alleged actions of individuals that UNRWA itself condemns and has pledged to help investigate is not only unjust, but detrimental to your administration’s goal of ending the current humanitarian crisis. Denying resources to UNRWA will only deepen the deprivation faced by civilians in Gaza, helping to spread rather than fight starvation and disease.

We therefore urge you to immediately restore US funding to UNRWA and to work with it and other aid agencies to urgently end the growing humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.

Signed,

Action Corps
Alliance of Baptists
American Friends Service Committee
Americans for Peace Now
Amnesty International USA
Brooklyn For Peace
Carolina Peace Center
Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)
Center for Economic and Policy Research
Center for International Policy
Center for Jewish Nonviolence
Center for Victims of Torture
Charity & Security Network
Church World Service
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
CommonDefense.us
Demand Progress Education Fund
Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
Extend
Freedom Forward
Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL)
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disicples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Grassroots International
Humanity & Inclusion
International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ)
Just Foreign Policy
MADRE
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
Mennonite Centeral Committee U.S.
Middle East Democracy Center (MEDC)
Migrant Roots Media
Minnesota Peace Project
MPower Change
National Council of Churches
National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
New Hampshire Peace Action
Nonviolent Peaceforce
Peace Action
Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness
RootsAction.org
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Justice Team
Sojourners
The Episcopal Church
The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)
Truman Center for National Policy
Unitarian Universalist Association
United for Peace and Justice
UNRWA USA National Committee
Win Without War
Women for Weapons Trade Transparency
World BEYOND War
Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation
Zomia Center