ARMAMENTS are currently in the news as never before, but there is one aspect that is often overlooked.

The production, transport and use of weapons account for over 5 per cent of all greenhouse gas (such as carbon dioxide) emissions, and they therefore contribute significantly to the climate collapse that is damaging our futures as much as any war.

What is also significant is that military activity has been specifically excluded from consideration by all the COPs (United Nations climate summits) from their start in 1995, through the landmark Paris summit in 2016 and into the present.

This means that we can only estimate roughly what is the state of each country’s emissions.

If we cannot access accurate information, how can we properly discuss the issue, never mind work at solutions?

If democracy is to work well, it needs openness and transparency.

We hear vague statements that any disclosure of military contributions to greenhouse gas emissions could be of use to an enemy.

Does an appeal to secrecy close down necessary debate, a debate that is essential in a mature democracy?

A country needs its military in order to keep it safe, and some may think that secrecy is a small price to pay for security.

However, we are up against a circular problem here; climate change also plays a part in causing wars.

Extreme weather (for instance, drought and reduced access to water, floods and the destruction of crops and homes) contribute to increased migration, national instability and international conflicts.

And, of course, to human suffering. Recent examples are the conflicts in Syria, Sudan, and Chad – countries that frequently appear in the news.

A keynote speech given at the US Department of Defense last year claimed: “Make our military more sustainable... because, as it turns out, what’s good for the environment also benefits our military.”

This is also a sentiment recognised by NATO. Now I don’t know how one fights a war sustainably, and I doubt whether this apparent recognition is going to offer us much comfort.